Are Wind Turbines a Headache? Pembrokeshire Herald

The Pembrokeshire Herald September 2, 2014

Are Wind Turbines a Headache?

LEADING SCIENTISTS are concerned that a new threat may be posed by wind turbines, a threat that could damage our ears known as ‘Vibro-Acoustic Disease’.

This new warning may come as too little too late for a local Pembrokeshire resident, Gwen Burkhardt, who it is alleged had to sell her Newcastle Emlyn farm several years ago because the of the three wind turbines that were a mile away from her home and were adversely affecting her health. Her doctor, apparently, put it down to ‘infra-sound’, that sound which is inaudible to human ears. She was suffering from headaches at home, which was on a B road near to Emlyn’s three 250 foot wind turbines. According to Gwen Burkhardt, once she sold up and moved from the area, the headaches disappeared.

The main proponent of this theory, ‘Vibro-Acoustic Disease’, is Dr Nina Pierpont, who published a book entitled ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ in 2001. In this book a link is alleged between low frequency noise and vibration and a range of symptoms such as tinnitus, dizziness, nausea, palpitations, sleep disturbance and migraines. Another disturbing case was reported in the Danish press who reported the story of a garden centre going out of business because of nearby wind turbines. Headaches were frequent among employees, and female workers complained of unusual bleeding and problems with their menstrual cycles.

The employers were worried that more serious illnesses may have followed after five employees resigned. The owner, Boye Jensen, closed the business for fear of being held liable should a child be born with deformities. The World Council for Nature (WCFN) is calling attention to the fact that, as occurred for tobacco, asbestos, thalidomide etc, governments are siding with private financial interests in ignoring or denying the existence of what they see as obvious health problems linked to wind turbines.

They went on to say:

In Denmark as elsewhere in the world, many rural families are suffering, particularly since the manufacture of the mega turbines, which emit more infrasound as they grow bigger. This may explain why the complaints are growing. How much longer can this suffering be ignored, or even denied by health authorities? Some countries, including Canada and Australia, have commissioned studies into the matter of noise emitted by windfarms. But the studies’ scope and methodology doom them to failure, perhaps intentionally”.

Such is the concern of the potential damage caused by these turbines that the WCFN have called for an epidemiological study, and the measurement of low frequency sound (including infrasound down to 0.1 Hz), inside the homes of windfarm victims.

They suggest that as a precaution, no mega turbines should be erected less than 10 km from habitations until these studies are completed, published and analysed. They finished by saying: “There is indeed compelling evidence that infrasound travels much farther than other noise, and tortures sensitive people in their homes at distances of 10 km and more. Shorter distances could be temporarily set for smaller turbines, in proportion with their generating capacity”. Pembrokeshire residents, many of whom may be living near to these turbines, will be hoping that this concern proves to be a false alarm.

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Waubra Foundation Comment:

Vibroacoustic Disease is a different condition from Wind Turbine Syndrome, although both are caused by excessive exposure to Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise. The major research into VAD has been performed by Dr Nuno Castelo Branco and Professor Mariana Alves Pereira. Their research is available here: or search this website for further information on VAD

The term Wind Turbine Syndrome was given to the range of adverse health effects described by Dr Nina Pierpont in the USA when she published her peer reviewed research in 2009. See Dr Pierpont’s submission to an Australian Government Inquiry here: or search this website for further information on Dr Pierpont and Wind Turbine Syndrome.

Dr Leventhall, the British Acoustician and expert in the effects of low frequency noise on humans told a workshop convened by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council in June 2011 in Canberra that the symptoms which Dr Nina Pierpont had listed in her study had been familiar to him for years, and that the symptoms she described as “wind turbine syndrome” were “exactly the same as the stress effects due to noise annoyance” and later that “These were known long before wind turbine syndrome”. The recording of Dr Leventhall’s presentation, together with the pdf of his powerpoint presentation is on the NHMRC website, and Dr Leventhall’s comments relate to slides 42 – 44 of his presentation, with the comments occurring between 49 to 51 minutes of the recording. Dr Leventhall was one of the peer reviewers of the NHMRC’s 2010 Rapid Review.

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