“Explicit cautionary notice to those responsible for Wind Turbine Siting decisions” (Waubra Foundation)

Jul 5, 2011

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This notice is intended for “Directors of Wind Developments, Publicly Elected Officials from Federal, State and Local Government, and Bureaucrats in Relevant Departments
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The Waubra Foundation, Australia (6/29/11)

Be advised that, as a result of information gathered from the Waubra Foundation’s own field research, and from the clinical and acoustic research available internationally, the following serious medical conditions have been identified in people living, working, or visiting within 10km of operating wind turbine developments.

The onset of these conditions corresponds directly with the operation of wind turbines:

» chronic severe sleep deprivation;

» acute hypertensive crises;

» new onset hypertension;

» heart attacks (including Tako Tsubo episodes);

» worsening control of preexisting and previously stable medical problems such as angina, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, migraines, tinnitus, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder;

» severe depression, with suicidal ideation;

» development of irreversible memory dysfunction, tinnitus, and hyperacusis.

Other symptoms include those described by medical practitioners such as Dr Amanda Harry, and Dr Nina Pierpont in her landmark Case Series Crossover Peer Reviewed Study (submission No 13 to the Australian Federal Senate Inquiry into Rural Wind Farms) and published in Dr Pierpont’s book entitled “Wind Turbine Syndrome, A Report on a Natural Experiment,” 2009, published by K-Selected Books, Santa Fe.

These serious health problems were also identified by Australian General Practitioner Dr David Iser in 2004. Dr Iser formally notified the Victorian Government of the time after his patients became unwell following the start up of the Toora wind project. His warnings were ignored without being properly investigated by the authorities and politicians.

All this and supportive material has been made available to the boards of the major developers, State Ministers for Health and Planning and senior health bureaucrats. The time for denial, and of using the Clean Energy Council to shoulder the increasingly difficult task of denying the link between adverse health and operating wind turbines, is over.

At the Toora and Waubra wind projects, some seriously ill affected residents have been bought out by the developers, but only after they signed confidentiality agreements specifically prohibiting them from speaking about their health problems. This buy-out activity would support a conclusion that developers are aware of the health problems.

Meanwhile, wind developments have continued, with developers asserting that their projects meet acceptable standards, and thereby implying that they cannot be causing health problems.

The Foundation is also concerned that Vibro-acoustic Disease (VAD), as recorded and described by Professor Mariana Alves-Pereira’s team from Portugal, will develop in people chronically exposed to wind turbines. The disease has already been identified in the occupants of a house with levels of infrasound and low frequency noise identical to levels the Foundation is recording in the homes of affected residents in Australia.

The Foundation is aware of over 20 families in Australia who have abandoned their homes because of serious ill health experienced since the turbines commenced operating near their homes. Most recently, five households from Waterloo in South Australia have relocated, where the larger 3 MW turbines have had a devastating impact on the health of these residents. Some of these people have walked away from their only financial asset, to live in a shed or a caravan on someone else’s land.

The Foundation notes the mid-2010 advice from the National Health and Medical Research Council that a “precautionary approach” be followed. We are not aware that either industry or planning authorities have adopted this exceedingly valuable and important advice.

The Foundation’s position, as the most technically informed entity in Australia upon the effects of wind turbines on human health, is this: Until the recommended studies are completed, developers and planning authorities will be negligent if human health is damaged as a result of their proceeding with, or allowing to proceed, further construction and approvals of turbines within 10km of homes. It is our advice that proceeding otherwise will result in serious harm to human health.

We remind those in positions of responsibility for the engineering, investment and planning decisions about project and turbine siting that their primary responsibility is to ensure that developments cause no harm to adjacent residents.  And, if there is possibility of any such harm, then the project should be re-engineered or cancelled. To ignore existing evidence by continuing the current practice of siting turbines close to homes is to run the dangerous risk of breaching a fundamental duty of care, thus attracting grave liability.

Enquiries: Dr Sarah Laurie, Medical Director, 0439 865 914

Email address: sarah@waubrafoundation.com.au

Editor’s note:  Click here for a PDF of the above notice.

  1. Comment by Mtumba djibouti on 07/05/2011 at 1:52 pm

    Where are the tort and liability lawyers? Why are there no class action suits? It seems industrial wind is a low hanging fruit ripe for the civil liability law practice picking.

    Editor’s reply: Believe me, lawyers have tried. Big Wind (or the state) uses lawyers who argue that the wind development is operating within government noise guidelines. (They’re right; it is.)

    Secondly, they argue that there is no “peer reviewed” evidence unambiguously linking wind turbines to ill health. They maintain that all the evidence is “anecdotal.” Pierpont’s 300-page book is discounted in court, despite the fact that it was indeed peer reviewed. (None of these people understand peer review. For one thing, even the scientists in the crowd seem to believe that peer review applies only to journal articles—which is a howler! Books are also peer reviewed! All scholarly books—and Pierpont’s book is a scholarly book—are peer reviewed prior to publication!) Moreover, they don’t grasp that in clinical medicine, “case studies” are not “anecdote.” “Case studies” are based on a case history, or patient history, which is the foundation of medicine—going back to Hippocrates, for Chrissakes!

    Third, since industry finagled the word “annoyance” to replace “sick” years ago, all the relevant scientific literature (including noise studies by the WHO) refers to these symptoms as “annoying”—rather than “making people desperately ill”. As the government of Ontario argued successfully in court this past winter, “Annoyance is not an illness.”

    The courts swallow this crap.

  2. Comment by Mark Cool on 07/05/2011 at 5:41 pm

    My “Falmouth Experiment” began March 2, 2011 when wind speed controls were imposed on Wind I. July 11 is the next Wind Information presentation to Selectmen. It should prove informational!

    NASA – [Aeroacoutics of Large Wind Turbines] -
    “at the one-third-octave band spectra at lower frequencies, the highest levels (low-frequencies) are shown to be associated with the highest wind speeds and the highest power outputs.”

    I asked neighbors whether this restriction has helped. The neighbors, the very ones that have complained veraciously, and those that only mention annoyance as a shared sentiment with a poor weather forecast, have all agreed. It has been better.

    The Board of Selectmen, by their restriction on Wind I, unknowingly reduced the highest levels of low frequency imposed on neighbors. The neighbor’s reaction, despite conclusions made by HMMH and the Vestas representative at the June meeting, supports NASA’s determination.

    The result of a simple layman’s experiment shows a connect between NASAʼs determination and residents irritation instances. On a personal note, I recorded zero (0) pressure headaches when wind speeds curtailed the operation of Wind I.

    My experiment has provided me a possible explanation for my headaches but another pain remains. At the June Wind Information meeting, the state’s Executive Officer of Energy and Environmental Affairs appeared, representing the Patrick administration. Mr. Clark voiced Governor Patrick’s commitment to wind, and said Falmouth’s approach was “right in line” with the administration’s policy, and promised that “the state will continue to be involved and provide leadership as needed going forward.”

    Why then Mr. Clark, is it left to a citizen to investigate and derive an answer to his turbine induced headaches? Where is your involvement and leadership Governor Patrick? This smacks of the disconnect between bureaucratic agency mission objectives (i.e. public protection) and the citizen. What the EPA and MA Public Health agencies should be investigating are the experiences and maladies of the Falmouth folks effected by these machines. They are not! Frankly, no one is! They, the whole lot including Falmouth, instead choose to review evidentiary material. Much of which was relied upon to get us into this mess. Don’t they realize there’s a wind petri dish right here in Falmouth? Hello?

    Convincing regulators (i.e. Boards of Selectmen, Health and Planning) that Low Frequency and Infrasound from wind turbines is inadequately regulated is the hurdle, especially when the Governor’s wind agenda strategy coaxes his bureaucracy to expedite things for the wind industry. The citizen is left with the heavy lifting to prove ill harm.

    Convincing OUR regulators is the elephant in the room when, currently, they ‘aren’t on duty’ to investigate, they’re not present, as government agencies, to answer citizen questions because the truth may slow wind agenda progress or, at worst, they’ll have to admit a mistake. Please – Get over yourselves and get on with honest, transparent, protective moratorium measures!