Lloyd, Graham, Unseen, Unheard Wind Farms a Blow to Health

Unseen, unheard wind farms a blow to health

Graham Lloyd, Environment Editor
The Australian, February 14, 2015

GROUNDBREAKING Australian research has established a “cause and effect” existed between wind farms and health impacts on some nearby residents, a peer review by one of the world’s leading acoustic experts says.

The review of a study by Steven Cooper of residents living near Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm was undertaken by Paul Schomer, standards director of the Acoustical Society of America.

Dr Schomer’s research has been used to define the dose response and acoustic criteria for road traffic, rail traffic, aircraft traffic and shooting.

As a result of the Cooper research, Dr Schomer said wind farm developers should now say “We may affect some people”.

He said regulators charged with protecting health and welfare “will not be able to say they know of no adverse effects”.

Pacific Hydro has said previously it did not accept the Cooper research had established a cause-and-effect link, a claim that was not made in the report.

The National Health and Medical Research Council this week said there was no consistent evidence wind farms caused ­adverse health effects and further research was needed.

The NHMRC did not review the Cooper research.

Dr Schomer said the Cooper work had shown clearly there was “at least one non-visual, non-­audible pathway for wind turbine emissions to reach, enter and ­affect some people”.

The six people from three households involved in the study had recorded the timing and level of effects they were ­experiencing.

Their notes had shown that impacts corresponded with wind turbine power changes. The subjects did not know what was happening with the wind turbines when they recorded their notes.

“This study finds these six people sense the operation of the turbine(s) via other pathways than hearing or seeing, and that the adverse reactions to the operations of the wind turbine(s) correlates directly with the power output of the wind turbine(s),” he said.

“The important point here is that something is coming from the wind turbines to affect these people and that something increases or decreases as the power output of the turbine increases or decreases.

“It really does not matter what the pathway is, whether it is infra-sound or some new form of rays or electromagnetic field coming off the turbine blade. If the turbines are the cause, the wind farm is responsible and needs to fix it.”

Dr Schomer said criticism that only a small number of people were involved in the study was not relevant. “One person affected is a lot more than none; the existence of one cause-and-effect pathway is a lot more than none.”

The peer review was co-signed by George Hessler, the president and principal consultant for US acoustics specialist Hessler Associates.

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