Turbines of Death – How Turbines Slaughter Native Wildlife and Worsen Health
By Melissa Wishart, Investigate HERS, Feb-March 2013
Extract from the article is reproduced below, with permission from the author. The full article can be accessed from the links below the extract.
“Wind turbines do, without question, impose a severe impact on animal and human populations that live in close proximity to them,” says Bruce Rapley. “This is beyond question. Evidence from around the world is telling the same story: Wind turbines adversely affect human populations and animals wherever they are placed.”
The reasons for this are numerous, according to Rapley. “The hazards posed by wind turbines fall into several categories: shadow flicker, acoustic output and physical hazard.
“The shadow flickering across vision can potentially, in some cases, cause an epileptic seizure. Circumstances can exist where the flicker frequency can fall into the danger zone. Several turbines in a row can cause this, or large shadows where habitation is close to the source.”
The second threat is something called infrasound or Low Frequency Noise (LFN). Infrasound is sound so low that it is inaudible to the human ear, usually sitting at a frequency between one and 20Hz. It has been shown to affect people even when they can’t hear it, as demonstrated in an experiment conducted in England by Acoustic Scientists from the National Physical Laboratory, Richard Lord and Dan Simmons.
Two concerts were played, identical in every way, except for the fact that the scientists secretly generated infrasound using a large pipe and played it underneath the music during one of the concerts. The audiences were unaware of this, yet after the concert, those present when the infrasound was generated filled out a questionnaire and reported feeling shivers down their spine, sensing a presence, feeling a sensation of pressure and so on.
It has been suggested that infrasound explains the feeling of a ‘haunting’ – that clinging feeling of doom or fear, or the feeling that something is there. It affects the body psychologically in an odd way, for reasons that are not completely known. Infrasound, however, is emitted from things such as large waves, a tiger’s roar, and the rumble of an earthquake. All of these are things that mean danger, so perhaps our bodies’ reactions to infrasound comes from instinct.
“The sound from wind turbines is not ‘loud’,” says Rapley, “that is, in terms of causing hearing loss through excessive sound pressure levels. No, its effects are far more subtle and sinister. The best answer is that the unique acoustic output from the turbines excites a primitive area of the human (reptilian) brain that stimulates a response from the autonomic nervous system. Simply put, it ‘frightens the bejeezus out of you’. This is because, over the course of evolution, the reptilian hind-brain has developed survival mechanisms to respond to environmental threats. The sounds that these cognitive filters are tuned to are right in the region that wind turbines produce.
“The end result is that the body turns on adrenalin, pumps out cortisol, changes blood flow, dilates the pupils of the eye, makes you sweat, etc. etc. Over a long period of time, this can have devastating effects on the health and well-being of anybody unfortunate enough to be absorbing this toxic, acoustic cocktail.”
Those championing wind farms as the bright new future of electricity generation claim that the LFN emitted by wind turbines is at too small a volume to have any real effect on nearby humans or animals. Doctor Sarah Laurie, the CEO of the Waubra Foundation, which was set up to look deeper into the health effects caused by wind farms or other industrial sites, told Investigate this is untrue. “There is very little evidence from acoustic surveys which are independent of the wind industry, which show exactly what ‘doses’ of infrasound and low frequency noise people are being exposed to. That is why we have been so keen to get acousticians out in the field collecting this sort of data with the full acoustic spectrum.
“Almost all the existing research information relates to acute exposure to infrasound at higher doses, but for very short periods of time like 20 minutes to an hour. People are living with infrasound and low frequency noise from the turbines for 24 /7. We just don’t know what the effects of chronic exposure to this sound energy are, however we can see people getting sicker and sicker to the extent that they then have to leave their homes – and increasingly their doctors are telling them they have to leave their homes in order to regain their health.”
That people’s health is suffering is clear. “Experimental evidence has shown that [LFN] can induce a physiological stress response with increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline being measured,” Laurie says. “We know that long term chronic stress has extremely detrimental effects on the human body, with respect to both physical AND mental health, and we have known this a very long time.”
The danger doesn’t stop there, though. “There is a growing body of work about tissue changes with thickening of collagen for example, called Vibro Acoustic disease, which I believe in the longer term will be a huge health problem in neighbours of wind turbines and other sources of infrasound and low frequency noise and vibration.
“There is emerging research evidence (not yet published) that these frequencies below 200 Hz are directly disrupting people’s sleep, and it is the cumulative chronic sleep deprivation which we believe is the biggest single problem.”
What’s even more concerning is that evidence suggests the damage from LFN could be permanent.
“I know a number of people who have new Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of their experiences living near wind turbines for example, but there are other conditions which do not completely resolve when they move away from the turbines,” says Laurie. “Certainly, death from a Takotsubo heart attack [caused by stress] would also suggest permanent damage, but of course this is difficult to prove if the doctors are ignorant of the connection between sound energy and adrenaline surges and if the acoustic dose at the time is not being measured.”
So how is it that the public remains unaware of the shocking side effects – both physiologically and environmentally – of wind farms?
“World-wide, we have a debacle,” says Sherri Lange. “This is the worst fraud the modern world has seen. Developers are getting massively rich and the general public is getting energy poverty in return, and job losses, and massive environmental degradation.”
The only solution to the damaging health effects of wind farms on the human population is to “increase the buffer distances between humans, animals and the emitters of this sound energy,” according to Dr Laurie.