Colby et al, Leventhall et al Wind Turbine Sound & Health Effects, Expert Panel Review

Report prepared for the American Wind Energy Association & Canadian Wind Energy Association, 2009

W. David Colby, Robert Dobie, Geoff Leventhall, David M. Lipscomb, Robert H. McCunney,
Michael T. Seila, Bo Sondergaard

Executive Summary:

The Panel concluded:

Many countries have turned to wind energy as a key strategy to generate power in an environmentally clean manner. Wind energy enjoys considerable public support, but it has its detractors, who have publicized their concerns that the sounds emitted from wind turbines cause adverse health consequences.

The objective of the panel was to develop an authoritative reference document for the use of legislators, regulators, and citizens simply wanting to make sense of the conflicting information about wind turbine sound. To this end, the panel undertook extensive review, analysis, and discussion of the peer-reviewed literature on wind turbine sound and possible health effects. The varied professional backgrounds of panel members (audiology, acoustics, otolaryngology, occupational and environmental medicine, and public health) were highly advantageous in creating a diversity of informed perspectives.

Participants were able to examine issues surrounding health effects and discuss plausible biological effects with considerable combined expertise. Following review, analysis, and discussion, the panel reached agreement on three key points:

• There is nothing unique about the sounds and vibrations emitted by wind turbines.

• The body of accumulated knowledge about sound and health is substantial.

• The body of accumulated knowledge provides no evidence that the audible or subaudible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.

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