UN rebukes UK govt. for jamming wind turbines down people’s throats

mouth turbine

Plans for future wind farms in Britain could be in jeopardy after a United Nations legal tribunal ruled that the UK Government acted illegally by denying the public decision-making powers over their approval and the “necessary information” over their benefits or adverse effects. . . .

The controversial decision will come as a blow for the Coalition’s wind-power policy, which is already coming under attack from campaigners who want developments stopped because of medical evidence showing that the noise from turbines is having a serious impact on public health as well as damaging the environment.”

“UN ruling puts future of UK wind farms in jeopardy”

—Margaret Pagano, The Independent (UK), 8/27/13

Plans for future wind farms in Britain could be in jeopardy after a United Nations legal tribunal ruled that the UK Government acted illegally by denying the public decision-making powers over their approval and the “necessary information” over their benefits or adverse effects.

The new ruling, agreed by a United Nations committee in Geneva, calls into question the legal validity of any further planning consent for all future wind-farm developments based on current policy, both onshore and offshore.

The United Nations Economic Commission Europe has declared that the UK flouted Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention, which requires full and effective public participation on all environmental issues and demands that citizens are given the right to participate in the process.

The UNECE committee has also recommended that the UK must in the future submit all plans and programmes similar in nature to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan to public participation, as required by Article 7.

The controversial decision will come as a blow for the Coalition’s wind-power policy, which is already coming under attack from campaigners who want developments stopped because of medical evidence showing that the noise from turbines is having a serious impact on public health as well as damaging the environment.

Legal experts confirm the UNECE decision is a “game-changer” for future wind-turbine developments in the UK. David Hart, QC, an environmental lawyer, said: “This ruling means that consents and permissions for further wind-farm developments in Scotland and the UK are liable to challenge on the grounds that the necessary policy preliminaries have not been complied with, and that, in effect, the public has been denied the chance to consider and contribute to the NREAP.”

The UN’s finding is a landmark victory for Christine Metcalfe, 69, a community councillor from Argyll, who lodged a complaint with the UN on the grounds that the UK and EU had breached citizens’ rights under the UN’s Aarhus Convention.

She claimed the UK’s renewables policies have been designed in such a way that they have denied the public the right to be informed about, or to ascertain, the alleged benefits in reducing CO2 and harmful emissions from wind power, or the negative effects of wind power on health, the environment and the economy.

Ms Metcalfe made the legal challenge on behalf of the Avich and Kilchrenan Community Council at the Committee Hearing in Geneva last December. She and the AKCC decided to take action after their experience of dealing with the building of the local Carraig Gheal wind farm and problems surrounding the access route, an area of great natural beauty.

The retired councillor said she was “relieved” by the UN decision. “We were criticised by some for making this challenge but this result absolves us of any possible accusations of wrong-doing… The Government needs to do more than just give ordinary people the right to comment on planning applications; they deserve to be given all the facts.”

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson said: “We are aware of this decision and we are considering our response. Wind is an important part of our energy mix providing clean home-grown power to millions of homes. Developers of both offshore and onshore wind farms do consult with communities and provide generous benefits packages.”

The Aarhus Convention: What is it?

The Aarhus Convention, or the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, is named after the Danish city where it was first established by a UN summit.

It sets up a number of rights for individuals and associations in regard to the environment. People can request to know the health risks linked to the state of the environment and applicants should be informed within one month of the request.

It also ensures the public get a say in any environmental project such as a wind farm. Public authorities must provide information about environmental projects, and those affected by such schemes must be told if they are going ahead and why.

Noise that creates havoc with your body and mind (NY Times)


This image was not part of the original article

“I’m Thinking. Please. Be Quiet.”

—George Prochnik, NY Times (8/24/13)

SLAMMING doors, banging walls, bellowing strangers and whistling neighbors were the bane of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s existence. But it was only in later middle age, after he had moved with his beloved poodle to the commercial hub of Frankfurt, that his sense of being tortured by loud, often superfluous blasts of sound ripened into a philosophical diatribe. Then, around 1850, Schopenhauer pronounced noise to be the supreme archenemy of any serious thinker.

His argument against noise was simple: A great mind can have great thoughts only if all its powers of concentration are brought to bear on one subject, in the same way that a concave mirror focuses light on one point. Just as a mighty army becomes useless if its soldiers are scattered helter-skelter, a great mind becomes ordinary the moment its energies are dispersed.

And nothing disrupts thought the way noise does, Schopenhauer declared, adding that even people who are not philosophers lose whatever ideas their brains can carry in consequence of brutish jolts of sound.

From the vantage point of our own auditory world, with its jets, jackhammers, HVAC systems, truck traffic, cellphones, horns, decibel-bloated restaurants and gyms on acoustical steroids, Schopenhauer’s mid-19th century complaints sound almost quaint. His biggest gripe of all was the “infernal cracking” of coachmen’s whips. (If you think a snapping line of rawhide’s a problem, buddy, try the Rumbler Siren.) But if noise did shatter thought in the past, has more noise in more places further diffused our cognitive activity?

Schopenhauer made a kind of plea for mono-tasking. Environmental noise calls attention to itself — splits our own attention, regardless of willpower. We jerk to the tug of noise like sonic marionettes. There’s good reason for this. Among mammals, hearing developed as an early warning system; the human ear derived from the listening apparatus of very small creatures. Their predators were very big, and there were many of them.

Mammalian hearing developed primarily as an animal-detector system — and it was crucial to hear every rustle from afar. The evolved ear is an extraordinary amplifier. By the time the brain registers a sound, our auditory mechanism has jacked the volume several hundredfold from the level at which the sound wave first started washing around the loopy whirls of our ears. This is why, in a reasonably quiet room, we actually can hear a pin drop. Think what a tiny quantity of sound energy is released by a needle striking a floor! Our ancestors needed such hypersensitivity, because every standout noise signified a potential threat.

There has been a transformation in our relationship to the environment over the millions of years since the prototype for human hearing evolved, but part of our brain hasn’t registered the makeover.

Every time a siren shrieks on the street, our conscious minds might ignore it, but other brain regions behave as if that siren were a predator barreling straight for us. Given how many sirens city dwellers are subject to over the course of an average day, and the attention-fracturing tension induced by loud sounds of every sort, it’s easy to see how sensitivity to noise, once an early warning system for approaching threats, has become a threat in itself.

Indeed, our capacity to tune out noises — a relatively recent adaptation — may itself pose a danger, since it allows us to neglect the physical damage that noise invariably wreaks. A Hyena (Hypertension and Exposure to Noise Near Airports) study published in 2009 examined the effects of aircraft noise on sleeping subjects. The idea was to see what effect noise had, not only on those awakened by virtual fingernails raking the blackboard of the night sky, but on the hardy souls who actually slept through the thunder of overhead jets.

The findings were clear: even when people stayed asleep, the noise of planes taking off and landing caused blood pressure spikes, increased pulse rates and set off vasoconstriction and the release of stress hormones. Worse, these harmful cardiovascular responses continued to affect individuals for many hours after they had awakened and gone on with their days.

As Dr. Wolfgang Babisch, a lead researcher in the field, observed, there is no physiological habituation to noise. The stress of audible assault affects us psychologically even when we don’t consciously register noise.

In American culture, we tend to regard sensitivity to noise as a sign of weakness or killjoy prudery. To those who complain about sound levels on the streets, inside their homes and across a swath of public spaces like stadiums, beaches and parks, we say: “Suck it up. Relax and have a good time.” But the scientific evidence shows that loud sound is physically debilitating. A recent World Health Organization report on the burden of disease from environmental noise conservatively estimates that Western Europeans lose more than one million healthy life years annually as a consequence of noise-related disability and disease. Among environmental hazards, only air pollution causes more damage.

A while back, I was interviewed on a call-in radio station serving remote parts of Newfoundland. One caller lived in a village with just a few houses and almost no vehicular traffic. Her family had been sitting in the living room one evening when the power suddenly cut off. They simultaneously exhaled a sigh of relief. All at once, the many electronic devices around them (including the refrigerator, computers, generator, lamps and home entertainment systems and the unnatural ambient hum they generated and to which the family had become oblivious) went silent. The family members didn’t realize until the sound went off how loud it had become. Without knowing it, each family member’s mental energy was constantly diverted by and responsive to the threat posed by that sound.

Where does this leave those of us facing less restrained barrages? Could a critical mass of sound one day be reached that would make sustained thinking impossible?

Is quiet a precondition of democracy? The Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter suggested it might just be. “The men whose labors brought forth the Constitution of the United States had the street outside Independence Hall covered with earth so that their deliberations might not be disturbed by passing traffic,” he once wrote. “Our democracy presupposes the deliberative process as a condition of thought and of responsible choice by the electorate.”

The quiet in Independence Hall was not the silence of a monastic retreat, but one that encouraged listening to others and collaborative statesmanship; it was a silence that made them more receptive to the sound of the world around them.

Most likely Schopenhauer had in mind a similar sense of quiet when he chose to live in a big city rather than retiring from society: apparently he, too, believed it important to observe as much of life as possible. And when he moved to Frankfurt, he didn’t bring earplugs. He brought along a poodle known to bark on occasion, and the flute he loved to play after writing. Most people who are seeking more serenity from the acoustical environment aren’t asking for the silence of the tomb. We just believe we should be able to hear ourselves think.

George Prochnik is the author of the forthcoming book “The Impossible Exile.”



Wind energy: “A system designed by delirious politicians, not prudent power engineers”


“‘Green’ politics harvest subsidies, not energy”

—Viv Forbes, “Letter to the Editor, Washington Times (8/20/13)

The “green” energy twins, wind and solar, are parasitic power producers. They cannot produce continuous, predictable electricity without sucking backup from their hosts — real power plants using coal, gas, nuclear, hydro or geothermal energy.

Wind and solar power start their freeloading life by attaching themselves to an electricity network built and paid for by their hosts. They seldom contribute to the capital or maintenance cost of the transmission network, and they force consumers to subsidize the feed-in price received for their unreliable output.

From Day One, the green energy parasites force their hosts to support them with electricity during the frequent periods when they produce no power. At times, in cold, still weather, wind farms drain power from the network to keep the turbines from freezing.

All green energy plants in a region tend to produce either peak power or zero power at the same times. This surging creates serious network instability and forces fluctuating output in backup facilities. Because of this continuous need for backup, not one unit of real power can be closed. This causes periodic overcapacity in the network. All plants generate lower revenue and profits, and both producers and consumers bear the cost of supporting the parasites.

Problems already loom in Europe, where coal, gas and nuclear plants face closure because their revenue stream is weakened by overcapacity and interrupted by solar/wind surges.

Green energy has a low capacity factor, intermittent operation, more access and transmission costs, and creates operational inefficiencies in backup plants. It is a destructive and stunningly expensive way to achieve a minuscule overall reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, even if that were a sensible aim. It is a system designed by delirious politicians, not prudent power engineers, and its main achievement is to harvest subsidies, not energy.

If all green energy welfare were removed, the parasite power producers would die. Until it is removed, the hosts and the customers will continue to be weakened.


Vaseline + Wind Turbine = Rectal Reality Check (Ontario)

Editor’s note:  This is an honest-to-God true story.

Melodie Burkett is an Ontarian who has had it up to “here” with the wind turbine salesmen’s lies and fraud and bullying and abuse.  I mean, she’s HAD IT!  She’s also ballsy.  (Except that, in a woman it’s said, “She’s got ovaries!”)


In any case, Melodie was attending the annual “Ontario Mayor’s Conference” in Ottawa this past week, since her husband, Michael, is Mayor of Whatever.  (Doesn’t matter for purposes of this story.)  Cruising the grand ballroom with its many booths, Melodie spotted a wind company booth bristling with small toy wind turbines—as propaganda devices (“party favors”) for attendees.

Melodie promptly took the escalator down to ground level, exited the hotel and found the nearest drugstore.  She had the clerk ring up a jar of Vaseline.  (Melodie betrays her age, here.  These days, people use K-Y Jelly for intimate purposes.)

In any case, she marched back in, rode the escalator while clutching her little jar of symbolic outrage, strode over to the booth, uncapped her Vaseline and plunked it down on the table.  “You guys keep this jar open on this table,” she loudly exclaimed.  “Anyone who wants one of your toy wind turbines will want to dip it in this jar and proceed to the washroom and—shove it!  ‘Cause that’s what’s really going on!”


“We thought we were going to be far enough away and would be safe” (Michigan)

Editor’s note:  The following was written by a woman in Michigan named Ella Rupprecht.  She sent it to Paul Schomer, PhD, a prominent noise engineer who has studied wind turbine noise and vibration.

Mrs. Rupprecht, who suffers from Wind Turbine Syndrome, wrote in response to Schomer’s failure to acknowledge Pierpont in his research into the health impacts of wind turbine noise.


From:  Ella Rupprecht
To:  Paul Schomer, PhD, Noise Engineer
Date:  August 7, 2013
Regarding:  Wind Turbine Syndrome

As I read your initial statement to Dr. Pierpont and the others responding to you, I hesitated to respond since I have no academic degrees to put behind my name.   (I wondered if you would take me seriously.)  Regardless, I can only pray you collaborate with the others in a quest to get to the truth about the harm of LFN produced by IWTs.

In December of 2012, just 7 months ago, 68 industrial wind turbines in Gilford, Michigan, went online.  Soon there will be over 200 installed in sequence toward two more townships east of the Gilford installations.  If the wind company has its way, there will be 3000 (three thousand!) in the heart of the Michigan thumb.

My community, south of the Gilford project, has fought hard the last 2 years to keep them out.  As of now, we have succeeded by informing the public and I have personally given my township officials over 500 pages of information (a drop in the bucket!), which led them to dig deeper for facts and the true impacts of placing these massive industrial structures around our community.  Not only that, contracts were withdrawn recently and there are several farmers wiping their brows with relief to know they are no longer bound by a their own, signed confidentiality contracts to destroy their prime farm property and harm their neighbors.  Also realize, confidentiality contracts bind the signer never to speak ill in any way, shape or form.  (Ask yourself how many people with contracts have become ill, but can’t speak of it.)

Mr. Schomer, we thought we were going to be far enough away and we would be safe. We were wrong.

The turbine installation is approximately 7 miles north of me. I can see them clear as day.  More, I can tell you which way they are pointed, and I can tell you when they are pointed towards my property and running, all without looking out my windows.  How?  I wake during the morning to nausea and have ringing ears during their operation.  My head is pressurized during these times.

I never, ever had this problem before.  Just a few days ago while speaking to a neighbor north of me one mile, she tells me that she has had the same problems. Her ears are now plugged on a constant basis and her doctor has found no reason for this.  Soon there will be many people with unexplained sickness coming out of these areas—a region that will soon be a Mecca of Ill-Destruction with no recourse for the people it will affect.

I talked to my physician a few months back and asked if she knew anything about Wind Turbine Syndrome.   She said she does know about it and has read Dr. Pierpont’s book.  (Incidentally, my ears are ringing as I type this.)

I happened to spend four hours the other day in a friend’s wooded area right in the heart of the Gilford Project.  I can tell you that these monsters are loud and disruptive to the human ear.  The wildlife in this wooded area are beginning to move away.  The question is, Why?  Answer:  Because animals have the ability to flee the LFN.  The humans who live in this turbine array do not.  They are left with the anguish of health effects in homes they can’t sell—the homes they perceived as being their “castle.”  Homes with heart and HEALTH.

They no longer have that.

As an individual who believes in “Do No Harm” as the World Health Organization declares, I ask you to do the humanitarian thing and get to the truth before more misery is inflicted on more of humanity.

In your response to Dr. Pierpont, you said your conclusions and recommendations are for research and cooperation to solve the problems so that wind farms can exist but that people should not be made ill in the process.

I can assure you, Dr. Schomer, these are not “farms” by any stretch of the word.  They are industrial wind installations that do not belong among humanity, nature, or anywhere.


“Nina Pierpont has endured endless vilification by members of the acoustics community” (Malcolm Swinbanks, PhD)


Editor’s note:  The following was written by Malcolm Swinbanks, PhD, to Paul Schomer, PhD, a prominent noise engineer who has studied wind turbine noise and vibration.

Swinbanks wrote his letter to Schomer in response to Schomer’s failure to acknowledge Pierpont in his research into the health impacts of wind turbine noise.

Nina Pierpont has endured endless vilification by members of the acoustics community; she was accused of incorrectly describing wind turbine infrasound as impulsive, when I have myself measured such impulsive effects.

“She has been accused of being an activist when she opposed the construction of a windfarm near to her, expressing health concerns.  That exact same windfarm developer, at exactly the same time designed and built another windfarm not far from where I live.   It has proven to be a disaster, with some residents having to abandon their homes, and others sleeping in the basement, constructing concrete enclosures for themselves in order to make sleeping tolerable.”


Malcolm Swinbanks, PhD (Cambridge Univ.)

:  Malcolm Swinbanks, PhD
To:  Paul Schomer, PhD, Noise Engineer
Date:  August 5, 2013 (revised 8/9/13)
Regarding:  Wind Turbine Syndrome

Many of the issues you have listed in your reply to Dr. Pierpont are issues that have been highlighted by people who have doggedly addressed the problems of wind turbines for many years, without any significant support from the acoustic community.    You argue that these effects have been known for many years, (agreed—I have been aware of them since 1974), so why could so many of your acoustics colleagues fail to acknowledge that there may indeed be such problems generated by wind-turbines?

You appear to have dismissed Nina Pierpont’s work and given up reading her work because she stated there could be problems out to distances of 2 miles.   I live 3 miles from a recently constructed windfarm of GE 1.6 MW 100m turbines.   On occasions during this past winter, in particular under conditions of temperature inversion, both my wife and I have been unable to sleep, and indeed on random occasions have experienced completely unexpected effects entirely consistent with reports that Nina Pierpont has described.   Since these effects have occurred quite unexpectedly, without any prior expectation, I believe they are genuine unfamiliar experiences and can in no way be explained away by platitudes about “nocebo effects.”  Three miles, not Nina Pierpont’s 2 km.

Nina Pierpont has endured endless vilification by members of the acoustics community; she was accused of incorrectly describing wind turbine infrasound as impulsive, when I have myself measured such impulsive effects.   She has been accused of being an activist when she opposed the construction of a windfarm near to her, expressing health concerns.  That exact same windfarm developer, at exactly the same time designed and built another windfarm not far from where I live.   It has proven to be a disaster, with some residents having to abandon their homes, and others sleeping in the basement, constructing concrete enclosures for themselves in order to make sleeping tolerable.

Yet that same acoustician who has levelled these accusations worldwide, stated publicly in the United Kingdom that permitted sound levels in the USA are too high, and has personally stated to me that they are “disgraceful.”  So apparently when in the UK, the USA sound pressure levels are “disgraceful,” but when people in the USA should protest about this they are dismissed as “activists.”

Nina Pierpont has consistently argued that she believes the effects to be caused by interaction with the vestibular organs, and indeed there is a direct fluid interconnection from the cochlea to the saccule, as illustrated on page 201 of Nina Pierpont’s book.   I understand that you have now identified the physical mechanism by which pressure pulsations can excite the nerve ends in the utricle and saccule, thus completing the perspective that Nina Pierpont has set out in her book.

Editor’s note:   Dr. Swinbanks added the following addendum (8/9/13):

There are two central aspects relating to wind-turbine technology that are still not properly understood.

“First, the low-frequency sensitivity of individuals varies enormously, by 18dB or more, representing a far larger variation than any arguments about permitted levels of 45dBA, 40dBA or 35dBA.

“Secondly, under cold winter conditions on the ground with warmer air higher in the atmosphere, temperature inversions cause low frequency and infrasound to propagate with minimal attenuation over distances well in excess of any conventional setback boundaries.  This is firmly-established acoustics, and should not be the subject of question or argument.”


Did ILFN Syndrome cause Spain’s worst train wreck? (Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD)

vector train small

Editor’s note:  Please send this article viral.  WTS.com has been unable to reach the engineer’s lawyers, who should be aware that ILFN Syndrome may have had a role in Mr. Garzon’s bizarre behavior.

ILFN, incidentally, is shorthand for Infrasound & Low Frequency Noise.  While we are clarifying things:  Ignore the fact that Mr. Garzon is talking on a cellphone in the photograph, below.  As you will see from reading Pierpont’s article, the problem is not cellphones, the immediate problem is the ILFN-rich engineer’s cockpit of the train engine.

train final

Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD

His name is Francisco Jose Garzon Amo.  Minutes before this snapshot was taken, he was extracted from the cockpit of a high speed train in Spain.  Minutes earlier, he had been at the controls of this train as it hurtled around a bend in the tracks.

As all the world learned in the evening news—Mr. Garzon’s death-defying high speed stunt failed.  Spectacularly.

The entire nauseating episode was captured by video camera mounted slightly further down the track.  One moment the track is empty.  Suddenly, an engine pulling a string of passenger cars comes barreling around the bend—tilts—tips over—the flimsy aluminum cars, loaded with people, smashing helter skelter into the pitiless concrete wall.

“I can’t explain it,” a stunned Garzon is quoted as saying.  “I still don’t understand how I didn’t see . . . mentally, or whatever.  I just don’t know!”

He was ‘going fine’ until the curve was upon him, he said.  When the danger became clear, he thought, ‘Oh my God, the curve, the curve, the curve!  I won’t make it.’

The driver activated the brakes ‘seconds before the crash . . . the electric one, the pneumatic one . . . all of them.  Listen, when . . . but it was already inevitable.’

Garzon went back to court, voluntarily, to offer more evidence on Wednesday. . . . He said he was talking by phone to the train’s on-board ticket inspector moments before the derailment. . . . Garzon was on the phone at the time of the derailment.

—Associated Press, 2 Aug 2013, in Al Jazeera English

“The curve . . . by the time I saw it, I knew I wouldn’t make it,” Garzon told a state prosecutor.

Prosecutor: ‘Did you activate the braking system when you entered the tunnel?’

Garzon:  ‘Everything was activated before the train derailed, but by then I saw that no, no, no—I wouldn’t make it!’

Prosecutor: ‘What were you thinking about before entering the second tunnel?’

Garzon:  ‘I don’t know!  If only I knew!  The disgrace which I’m going to have to bear for the rest of my life is tremendous.’

Prosecutor: ‘We are all working on this, the police and others, to find out what was going through your mind.  I’m asking you to try harder to see if we are correct . . .’

Garzon:  ‘Sir, I’m telling you sincerely, I don’t know!   I’m not so crazy that I wouldn’t apply the brakes!'”

—Video by Associated Press, 2 Aug 2013, in Al Jazeera English

The NY Times (7/30/13) reports that Mr. Garzon had received a telephone call from an official of Renfe, the train company, and was “reading a map or some kind of paper document” at the time of the crash.

Investigators say the driver of a Spanish train that crashed . . . received three warnings to reduce speed in the two minutes before the train hurtled off the tracks.  The court statement . . . revealed the driver was talking on the phone to a colleague when he received the first automatic acoustic warning in his cabin of a sharply reduced speed zone ahead.  The statement said police forensic tests on the train’s black box data recorders showed the last warning came just 250 metres before a dangerous curve where the accident occurred last week.

—Associated Press in Madrid, 2 August 2013, in The Guardian

“Spanish news agencies, quoting police and court sources, said that he admitted he had acted recklessly.  But, according to subsequent versions, he said he was confused as to which bit of the route he was traveling on” (The Guardian, 30 July 2013).

“The Alvia has a hybrid electric-diesel engine,” reports The Observer, 27 July 2013.  “Video footage shows Garzon’s train hurtled into the bend where the accident took place at more than twice the permitted speed of 80 km/h.  Yet the driver was reported to have been famed among colleagues for his prudence.”

garzon ear2

Juxtapose this narrative by Mr. Garzon of his thought processes and behavior in the moments before the crash (note:  in the cab of an electric-diesel train, traveling at high speed, which had just passed through one tunnel and was entering another), to the following descriptions of the ways in which cognitive processes can be affected by exposure to infrasound in the cab of diesel locomotives, as explained “Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise in the Locomotive Cab,” by B.J. Willingale, presented at the Tenth International Congress on Acoustics in Sydney, Australia, July 1980 (attached):

» “Many engine-men [engineers] complain that both physical and mental fatigue, which sets in fairly early in a shift on a diesel-electric locomotive . . . is in some way contributed to by the cab environment of the diesel-electric locomotive and particularly in relation to noise exposure” (page 1).

» “Complaints were received from engine-men operating on this line relating to the experiences of headaches, nausea and depression. The complaints came from engine-men who would normally show little interest in raising issues concerning their working conditions to the union” (page 1).

» “For some considerable period of time now, the union has shown an interest in literature dealing with infrasound and low-frequency noise exposure. This interest has been cultivated in the light of the alertness and attention an engine-man must pay to his duties in respect to decision-making in the locomotive.  While trains do not operate in this state to [at] the speeds encountered in other countries, prompt response to signals and the situation concerning other hazards and operating conditions in the locomotive cab is nevertheless very important one’s to safety. . . . Accurate and prompt response to operating procedures on these larger and faster trains requires a clear mental state” (page 2).

Known literature at the time with regard to the physiological response to infrasound and low-frequency noise (ILFN) is summarized in Table 1 of this paper (pp. 2-4):

» Item 3 shows the response to frequencies of 1-20 Hz at 115 to 120 dB is a “30-40% increase in reaction time, lethargy, euphoria (running off road to drive into danger without being able to mentally reverse one’s actions).”

» Item 25 shows the response to frequencies of 2-15 Hz at 105 dB is “increased reaction time by 10% in 1⁄2 the subjects of a test group.”

» Item 26 shows the response to frequencies of 10-15 Hz, particularly below 10 Hz, and 95 dB to be “increase in tracking error by 10% in a visual experiment.”

» The other 27 items in the list deal with responses related to balance, dizziness, nausea, chest sensations, modulation of speech, swallowing, visual blurring, and headaches.

Noise measurements in the operating diesel-electric locomotive cab revealed levels of infrasound and low-frequency noise sufficient to cause these effects.

Infrasound/low-frequency noise exposure in industrial settings is typically associated with reduced productivity. There is a substantial scientific literature on this.

Exposure to infrasound/low-frequency noise at much lower decibel levels in community settings from the ventilation systems of large buildings (“sick building syndrome”), large wind turbines, or pumps or compressors is likewise associated with disturbed mental processes, particularly difficulty in multi-tasking and difficulty with visual-spatial problem-solving (Pierpont N, 2009, Wind Turbine Syndrome, K-Selected Press, Santa Fe, NM). These effects tend to be cumulative over longer periods of exposure.

In summary, I hypothesize that significant amounts of infrasound/low-frequency noise were present in the cab of the diesel-electric train driven by Mr. Garzon, and that this infrasound/low-frequency noise slowed his reaction time, impaired his ability to multi-task, and interfered with his ability to solve critical visual-spatial problems—where he was in the route, and the immediacy of the approach to the curve.

Immediately before the crash, Mr. Garzon was multi-tasking—it is said that he was talking on the phone on a matter of train business and looking at paperwork. At the same time, he appears not to have registered the auditory warning signals to slow down, nor to have registered and processed the high- speed visual-spatial problem of the approaching curve.

In addition, he had just passed through one tunnel, in which resonance could magnify any noise or infrasound he was exposed to, and was moving into another tunnel.

I suggest that Mr. Garzon’s inability to describe what his mental processes were in those moments, and the suggestion that he was even confused about where he was in the journey, could be the effects of his exposure to infrasound/low-frequency noise. This could explain why someone typically described as responsible and highly competent could do something so apparently out of character.


Editor’s note:  Dr. Pierpont sent the above article to the editor of a Spanish newspaper that had done extensive reporting on the accident.  The editor responded with some questions.  Pierpont answered as follows.

Question #1:  What, exactly, is ILFN?

Answer:  ILFN is infrasound/low frequency noise.  Infrasound is defined as noise at the very lowest end of the spectrum, the deepest or lowest-pitched sounds, for many people too low to be heard.  It is defined as sound below 20 Hz (which means the number of waves per second).  Low frequency noise is the frequencies or pitches above 20 Hz up to 200 Hz or 500 Hz, the upper limit having a flexible definition.

Question #2:  How does ILFN affect train drivers?

Answer:  In a variety of situations, including in industry, in the aeronautical industry and military, and in large buildings with poorly designed and reverberating ventilation systems (“sick buildings”), the effects of ILFN exposure include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, general malaise, slowed thinking, poor concentration, and difficulty with reading, multi-tasking, productivity, and solving problems with a visual-spatial component (judging distances, for example, or remembering where you are on a mental map). The paper I attached, above, which was a talk given at a technical conference in 1980, shows that the noise inside the cab of new diesel-electric trains in Australia, at the time, was of the correct frequencies (Hz or pitch) and amplitudes (energy, power, or loudness) to produce these kinds of effects on the drivers of trains (whom I called “engineers” in the last e-mail because that is what train drivers are called in the USA). The noise study presented in this paper was undertaken because of the complaints of mental fatigue by the drivers of these trains when the trains were introduced.

Question #3:  Do you think something similar happened to Mr. Garzon?

Answer:  Yes, I do think something similar could have happened to him. The high speed of the train would intensify the noise. The tunnel or wall he was traveling through or next to could intensify the noise. The driver’s accounts of his mental confusion, slowed reactions, and his inability during his phone call to notice important signals and to mentally grasp how close the curve was and how fast he was approaching it—these features of slowed and ineffective thinking are all consistent with the effects of ILFN exposure on mental processes.

Question #4:  What symptoms would a person affected by ILFN present with?

Answer:  In my work on ILFN exposures, I have discovered that some people are more susceptible to these effects than others. In particular, migraine disorder, the tendency to become carsick or seasick, and a history of noise-induced damage to the hearing are all risk factors for having ill effects from ILFN. Age over 50 is also a demonstrated risk factor for developing these symptoms.

Question #5:  Is there a cure?

Answer:  With regard to a remedy, I suggest first that Mr. Garzon be examined by an oto-neurologist, which is an otolaryngologist who specializes in the nerve connections to the ear and balance systems, to see if he has any of the susceptibility factors.

A noise study of the cab of the type of train involved might be useful, with a focus on measuring the infrasound and low frequency noise, by a specialist in this type of noise (it takes special measuring apparatus and expertise to adequately measure it).

Question #6:  Has this problem been detected in other train accidents?

Answer:  I don’t know of any accidents in which this factor has been examined.

Question #7:  Is it only train engineers who are at risk for this?  Could operators of other means of transportation be vulnerable?

Answer:  With regard to drivers of other modes of transport, Professor Mariana Alves-Pereira (University of Lisbon) and her colleagues have done extensive research on airline pilots, but I don’t know of any accidents that have been ascribed to the ILFN factor.   The group she is a part of has measured the ILFN in airline cockpits.  I don’t know if anyone has measured ILFN in the cabs of large trucks.

Question #8:  Can the symptoms of ILFN be experienced and resolved in minutes, hours, or days?  How long do symptoms last?

Answer:  There appear to be several stages and perhaps different physiological explanations for early and later effects of ILFN, if someone has repeated episodes of exposure over a long period of time, as we think the train driver did.

The first level involves detection through the sensory system, probably the balance system of the inner ear.  Such effects come on in the time frame of minutes to hours and resolve in a similar time frame after the exposure stops.  However, there is sensitization over time, so that after repeated episodes the effects happen faster and are stronger, and may take longer to resolve.

The research group of Dr. Nuno Castelo Branco, who did much of his research while working for the Portuguese Air Force, believes that there is more than an effect on the senses when there is long-term, high-intensity exposure to ILFN.  They think that tissues of the brain and other organs, such as the heart and blood vessels, are damaged and thickened by long-term, high-intensity exposure to ILFN.  The pathology and long-term effects they present in their papers are similar to the effects of multiple concussions in professional American football players.

The Portuguese group uses electrophysiological tests on the brain and echocardiography to diagnose damage from ILFN.

(Professor Mariana Alves-Pereira is a member of this research group.  They are the main elucidators of Vibro-Acoustic Disease, or VAD.)

Question #9:  What symptoms could Mr. Garzon have had?

Answer:  If you look at my analysis of the problem in the article, above, you will see the symptoms I thought the driver had. (Bear in mind, I based all this on newspaper accounts.)  Essentially these are malfunctioning of his attention, alertness, ability to think quickly, ability to register and think about multiple things at once or in rapid succession, and ability to rapidly solve visual-spatial problems (such as knowing where you are at a glance and also knowing what is coming next and what speed you should be going).

Symptoms he might have felt himself would be mental fatigue and confusion, slowness of thinking, and confusion after the fact about not having noticed something or not having done something that should have been second nature (meaning, done easily and automatically without much conscious thought).

Question #10:  Are there medical tests for identifying susceptibility to ILFN in, say, prospective train drivers?

Answer:   If there are mental, cognitive effects that persist after the end of the episode of exposure to ILFN (which there may be—see #8, above), then neuropsychological testing including tests of divided attention and tests of reaction speed might pick up an abnormality.  A normal physician’s history and physical would not pick up abnormalities unless the patient told the physician about the mental struggles.  If there is no good explanation for the mental difficulty, then a person might be reluctant to talk about it for fear of being blamed for the problem and losing his job.

Apropos of this, I interviewed an air traffic controller who had noticed problems in his work (as did his co-workers) after an ILFN source started up near his home but not near his work.  He told the physician about it in his yearly exam for work.  The physician considered the problem to be a result of poor sleep and counseled the man to get more sleep, but did not remove the man from work.

Nina Pierpont can be reached at pierpont@twcny.rr.com.  She wishes to thank Dr. Sarah Laurie, CEO of the Waubra Foundation, for sending her the article on Australian locomotive engineers and ILFN. 


Greece’s wind energy time-bomb


Editor’s note:  Watch the first 13 minutes of this amazing video about Greece’s corrupt energy and “waste disposal” industry.  Notice the phrases, “licensed abuse,” “public health crimes,” and “toxic businesses” when applied to wind energy.

Is not wind energy merely “licensed abuse”?  Ask property owners in rural Ontario.  Or Nova Scotia.  Or Wisconsin, Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan.  (Or Sue Hobart in Falmouth, Mass.)  Or Australia and New Zealand.  Or, for that matter, Greece.  Throughout Scandinavia and the Netherlands.  France.  Spain.  Italy.  Or Japan.

And is not Wind Turbine Syndrome a “public health crime”?  Ask Dr. Laurie or Dr. Pierpont or Dr. Harry.

Toxic Crisis by Omiros Evangelinos (2012) by Aioleus

The following is quoted from this video, in the riveting section on wind energy and wind turbines.

They [energy companies] come to an area as guests, to find a place to invest. Then they begin extracting any natural resources they are allowed to. Suddenly and abusively they become conquerors, affecting the lives and financial prospects of the local population. . . .

“Green energy quickly became an extremely lucrative sector for entrepreneurs. The biggest banks in the world are investing in wind power, because it has been heavily subsidized by governments, and was deemed a safety valve for the CO2 stock market.

“Greece has experienced a violent onslaught [of wind farms], without any planning whatsoever, leading to an unfolding, unprecedented disaster. The last forests in Greece, on the mainland and Evia and in other areas, are under attack and are turned into huge building sites. People become accustomed to the sight of wind turbines from afar, and don’t realize their true dimensions, saying, “So what? It’s no big deal. These don’t pollute!”

“But things aren’t as simple as that. All mountaintops and all ridges are violated, huge craters are dug and filled with thousands of tons of concrete to erect huge wind turbines, some as tall as 200 m. Furthermore, wide roads are required to transport the turbines to their pads. More concrete to widen the country roads, since the turbine parts are transported by enormous trucks. Especially at the bends, the mountain roads are widened by as much as 30 or 40 m! As a a result, the mountain is fragmented, and forest ecosystems become compartmentalized, isolated, and eventually lost entirely.

“Another aspect of this issue is that the power that is being produced is sold at a price many times above that produced in traditional power plants. You see, all wind farms are private, and DEI [the Greek govt.] hardly participates in this field. The public utility has been kept out of the field of RES [Renewable Energy Sources] on purpose, to secure the profitability of private energy groups. This results in the imposition of a RES surcharge in the electricity bill. Currently it isn’t much, for not many wind farms have been connected as yet to the national grid. But this surcharge will increase in the future.

“This signals a double disaster. A financial one, because all these have not been developed on the basis of some national energy plan and are not controlled by the govt., and an environmental disaster will have taken place, for the last forests and mountains will be crammed with such energy facilities.”


“Please do not allow our lives to be destroyed again” by wind turbines (United Kingdom)


Editor’s note:  The following handwritten letter was sent to me by Jane Davis, a British nurse-midwife who, with her husband Julian, was driven from her home due to Wind Turbine Syndrome.  The Davis’s sued the wind company and were bought our for an undisclosed sum —with a gag clause attached.

Click here to read the handwritten original.

Jane sent her note with the following explanation.

Calvin, this is written by Julian’s parents—who also lost their home when we did—due to the wind farm.  They are in their 80’s and now threatened with another wind farm less than 3 miles from the new bungalow we moved them too.  Their words are their own.  The document is in the public domain.


From: Mr. & Mrs. John Davis
To: The South Holland District Council
Regarding: The proposed windfarm at West Pinchbeck (Ref. no. H14-0110-13)
Date: August 13, 2013

We are writing to ask [that] the application for this windfarm is refused.

We are frightened that if this application goes ahead, that we will lose our home for a second time because of the impact that living near a windfarm has on day-to-day life.

We had to leave our home of 28 years because of noise from a nearby windfarm — long periods of noise from the blades, mostly worst during the evening and at night. The noise could be heard both inside and outside of our home.

Another noise problem caused by the windfarm near our old home was the persistent quiet buzzing noise which made our old home feel as if there was some sort of presence there. It made you feel agitated and edgy.

For Mr. Davis, this was diagnosed as tinnitus, but moving away from the DSN windfarm has cured the problem — no more buzzing in the ears.

We did not realize how much these noises from Deeping St. Nicholas Windfarm were affecting us. Our sleeping was not good. Both of us could wake up 3 times a night, finding it very difficult to go back to sleep. Now, we only wake up once and find it much easier to drop off to sleep; it feels a lot more relaxing in our current home.

We are also not disturbed by turbine noise outside our new home when gardening — something that often was not possible at our old home, especially in the evening.

Initially we did not see how living near wind turbines could affect us. But having lived too near to Deeping St. Nicholas Windfarm for nearly six years, we can say the noise from it changes your life for the worse. It there is a noise problem the only answer is to move house. The noise is not something you get used to.

We are both 80 and happy and peaceful in our new home. We sleep at night and are able to enjoy life again.

The prospect of having wind turbines near our new home fills us with fear. I urge SHDC not to allow this application — not to allow our lives to be destroyed again.

Yours faithfully,

E.E. Davis
J. T. Davis

Davis letter1


“Dr. Pierpont & Dr. Laurie are more full of arrows than St. Sebastian” (Eric Bibler)

st sebastian

Editor’s note:  The following was written by Eric Bibler (Connecticut) to Paul Schomer, PhD, a prominent noise engineer who has studied wind turbine noise and vibration.

Bibler wrote his letter to Schomer in response to Schomer’s failure to acknowledge Pierpont in his research into the health impacts of wind turbine noise.

We don’t need to understand the mechanism [of Wind Turbine Syndrome] in order to know the impacts, any more than Socrates needed to know how and why he would die if he drank hemlock in 399 B.C. He didn’t know how it worked, but he knew what would happen if he drank it.”

“Dr. Pierpont and Dr. Laurie are more full of arrows than St. Sebastian. You don’t have to canonize them as saints, but you should at least give them their due.”

:  Eric Bibler
To:  Paul Schomer, PhD, Noise Engineer
Date:  August 7, 2013
Regarding:  Wind Turbine Syndrome

I hadn’t expected to weigh in on this discussion because I don’t feel particularly qualified to judge whose work should, or shoudn’t, have been cited in your recent paper, but now that comments have been offered by many people for whom I have the highest respect (Dr. Pierpont, Dr. Swinbanks, Dr. Laurie, Curt Devlin, George Kamperman, Eric Rosenbloom and others), I feel compelled to offer a few observations.

First, I would like to say that experience shows that the adverse impacts of wind turbines are devastating to both humans and wildlife — and that the adverse impacts to wildlife are by no means limited to the collisions of birds and bats with the wind towers and the rotors.

I didn’t know a wind turbine from a window fan until late 2009 when I stumbled on to a very pregnant proposal to install one (possibly three) 1.8 MW wind turbines in the heart of a national park, the Cape Cod National Seashore, in Wellfleet, MA in the pristine outer reaches of Cape Cod.

As a small group of us began to learn about the profound consequences that would ensue if this proposal were approved and implemented, we discovered, that the superintendent of the CCNS had convened an informal committee of representatives from each of the towns abutting the national park (some of whom, like Wellfleet, held title to town-owned legacy parcels of land within the Seashore that were completely bounded by the national park). Through a chance relationship, we obtained the minutes of this “Roundtable” of town representatives who were participating in an exercise lead by the Park Planner (under the supervision of the Superintendent) to scout “suitable” locations for wind turbines within, and abutting, one of the nation’s most cherished national parks.

I contacted George Kamperman after reading articles on wind turbine noise that were were authored by George Kamperman and Rick James. Soon after, I was referred to a group of acoustic engineers within the National Park Service (the Natural Sounds Program) whose function is to evaluate, and minimize, the impacts of anthropomorphic noise in our national parks. I noticed in one of the e-mail chains that one Paul Schomer had seemed to make the essential connection between me, through Kamperman, to Dr. Kurt Fristrup at the NPS Natural Sounds Program.

I have no idea what role you actually played in this process, but I know that I was eternally grateful for this assistance. As you know, Dr. Fristrup, in addition to performing his duties at the NPS, was just about to publish a paper on the effects of “Chronic Noise” on habitat and wildlife. Dr. Fristrup was kind enough to provide me with a copy of the paper, prior to its publication, and we managed to insist that this group within the NPS be engaged by the Superintendent (much to his chagrin, after considerable resistance) to evaluate the potential impacts of the wind turbine upon the park.

This wind turbine, like all other wind turbines, was being advertised as “benign” — “no louder than a refrigerator” — and as having virtually no impact upon its surroundings. The Superintendent introduced this topic of wind turbines at the first meeting of his Advisory Committee that I attended with the words: “You all know how I feel: it’s not IF we should have wind turbines (in the national park); but where to put them.” He then went on to note that some people found them beautiful — even though the proposed wind turbine would be 410 feet tall as compared to the average tree line of 30 feet; and notwithstanding the absolute prohibition of the Organic Act of 1916 that explicitly states that there shall be “no commercial or industrial use” of the land within any of our national parks — period.

A group of scientists commissioned by the NPS Natural Sounds Program reviewed the noise study provided by a Massachusetts noise control expert — reported to be “the gold standard” of acoustic specialists in MA — and declared it “grossly misleading” and completely worthless. The NPS evaluation catalogued all of the flaws in the study, including opportunistic positioning of microphones, short test horizons, unusual weather conditions, unwarranted extrapolations and conclusions, and numerous other tricks of the trade — which was all the more devastating since it was delivered in such bland bureaucratic language — as if speaking in a hushed voice because of the embarrassment at having to discuss such transparent fakery in public.

Scientists and layman (including hunters and other outdoors men) will tell you that noise, especially chronic noise, does adversely effect wildlife habitat and the willingness of wildlife to continue to inhabit an area. The hunters will tell you that in areas where wind turbines have been installed, the wildlife has been driven off and relocated. The wind turbine developers, on the other hand, will insist that this information is purely “anecdotal” or that there are insufficient “peer reviewed studies” to prove the point. Presumably, the developers will not be satisfied until hundreds of deer, pheasants and wild turkeys have been interviewed in a double blind study in various locations all over the world with the results of these interviews published in a journal like “Nature.”

These impacts are obviously understudied — largely because the agencies that might take an interest (such as the NPS, the USFWS, various other federal, state and private conservation agencies) have been put into harness in a concerted effort to pry open these last remaining areas of habitat and make them available to prospecting wind energy developers!

There is no money for these studies. Because there is no money, there are not enough “peer reviewed studies.” Because there are not enough “peer reviewed studies” the developers — and the officials who manage these areas, in trust, for the public — are becoming ever more insistent about abusing them based upon their unsupported claim that wind turbines producing 100+ decibels at the hub, from a source that is 300 feet across and 400 feet tall, will have no adverse impacts.

Since 2009, and especially after March of 2010 (when the Wellfleet Board of Selectmen did an about face and voted unanimously to kill the wind turbine project there, based upon the information we provided to them), I have been deeply involved in a number of these projects on Cape Cod, Nantucket, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Along the way, a few of us unearthed some profound corruption at work within one of the public agencies which was formed (illegitimately) to be the point of the spear, the primary mechanism, for turning Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard into “the Saudi Arabia of Wind.” Their ambition was to install 20 to 40 mammoth wind turbines on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard — all of them land-based — notwithstanding the fact that Cape Cod is only 10 miles wide, at its widest point and that the whole of it is rural and scenic and historic and notwithstanding the fact that the vast majority of the Outer Cape belongs to one of our most unique, and beloved, national parks (including Wellfleet, 61% of which is owned by the CCNS).

This particular public body — a municipal “electric cooperative” that was formed to facilitate the installation of the “community wind” projects and which is politically well connected, all the way up to the Governor’s office — has failed to install a single wind turbine (but not for lack of trying) and currently has its hands full as it has been investigated by a special committee of the county government (thanks to a few brave souls) and by the Massachusetts Inspector General. An impressive amount of effort has been expended to overcome the defenses of this public body — which has not been shy about flexing its political muscle or unabashedly ignoring, violating or perverting the spirit, if not the letter, of the MA open meeting law, the public records laws and conflict of interest laws — and to bring this public body to heel.

As in many places all over the United States and the world (including Canada, England, Australia, of course) this “municipal electric cooperative” is nothing more than an arm of the government that was designed to overwhelm any local objections to this myopic and dangerous public program by bludgeoning them into submission with the brute force of governmental power and resources.

Not one of the projects that we contested — all of which received substantial financial grants and other backing from local and state governments; all of which had a 3 to 5 year head start; all of which were bankrolled with generous amounts of public and/or private funds; and all of which received the uncritical blessing of corrupt acoustic professionals, state and federal agencies (such as the NPS superintendent, the Mass Clean Energy Center and the MA Dept of Environmental “Protection”); and all of which received overwhelming initial public support — were ever built. Not one.

The reason for this is simple. They were all dangerous. They were all detrimental to other legitimate interests in the area. It became apparent to all, within a short amount of time, once they were educated, that the developers — including first and foremost their hired professional acoustic consultants, members in good standing of INCE, every one of them — were omitting significant information or lying about the effects of the projects.

As one attorney put it to me recently when I asked, incredulously, how one of the most “distinguished” acoustic engineering firms in Massachusetts could possibly escape liability for one particularly grossly inaccurate feasibility study (provided one month after the same engineer had filed a report on the Falmouth tragedy that included detailed information about the victims there), he said there there was “a whole lot of pretending going on.”

“Pretending, my ass,” I replied. This particular engineer certainly knew better; yet he filed a report to help obtain the permits for a project that would absolutely, positively, harm a great number of individuals — families with children — if the permitting authorities accepted the results of his “study” at face value.

In all of my experience, I have never encountered a single person who said: “I used to be AGAINST wind energy. Now that I have done my homework and learned as much as I can about them, I SUPPORT wind energy.” Never. Not once.

On the contrary, this is a one-way street. Once you learn the facts, you can only be against wind energy — and you can never, ever be won back to the other side. The only people who are “for” wind energy are people who have a vested interest or people who are ignorant of the facts and who simply don’t know any better.

Here is something about this battle that you may already have observed: wind energy proponents relentlessly claim to have “science” on their side — and then attempt to denigrate and silence their critics with their insistence that the critics do not have “enough peer reviewed evidence” to support their contention that wind turbines are capable of imposing grave harm. Any evidence of harm that does exist is then haughtily dismissed as “merely anecdotal” or simply preposterous on its face — just as you decided that there was no point in giving any weight to Nina Pierpont’s research after reading that she believed that the effects of wind turbine noise might be felt as far as 2 km from the source. Preposterous! — or so you thought.

In fact, the opposite is true. The critics have all the evidence on their side — thousands and thousands of data points. And, in any event, the critics should not need to bear the burden of the proof since, in virtually all proceedings, it is the developer’s burden to prove that his proposal will not create such profound adverse impacts — and they never meet this burden.

Here is what is true:

1. Industrial wind turbines produce prodigious amounts of high energy noise that is unlike any other noise in our experience — if for no other reason than the fact that the source of the noise is outside, often in quiet rural areas; the source of the noise is immense; the source of the noise is perched 400 feet (or more) above the landscape; and the source of the noise is relentlessly persistent, churning away day and night, 24 hours a day.

2. After the wind turbines are installed and begin to operate, large numbers of people that are exposed to the noise become profoundly ill.

3. When the wind turbines stop operating — or when the affected people remove themselves to a safe distance — their symptoms vanish.

This set of circumstances has been proven for thousands of people and hundreds of locations all over the world. Not everyone gets sick. Not everyone gets the same symptoms. Not everyone is affected at the same distance, or under the same conditions. But a very significant number of people become profoundly ill, almost every time, when these things are installed.

Here is the conclusion that I draw from this set of facts:

Wind turbines make some people profoundly ill. Wind turbines can, and do, devastate lives.

And here is the fallacy in the “scientific” argument that drives me crazy — and which is habitually wielded as a cudgel by the wind turbine proponents:

THEY all insist that until we understand the mechanism in the ear (or in the body) that translates the noise into misery, we must dismiss these “anecdotal” accounts as so much voodoo.

Until hundreds, if not thousands, of human subjects have their misery calibrated in a series of “scientific” experiments that records 20, or 50, different variables (size and location of wind turbine, components of the noise, wind speed, preexisting medical conditions, topography, distance from the source, etc, etc), and cross references these variables and analyzes their statistical significance……well, until then, it’s simply not “true”. It’s not “scientific”. It’s not “verified.” It is only “anecdotal” — and therefore, no reason not to build another “wind farm.”





The truth is that we don’t really even know how to estimate the outer limits of the impacted area from these projects. How far away must one be to be “safe” from this scourge? Surely one would think that 5 miles is enough. 7 miles must be more than enough. And ten miles must be far beyond the limit of any perceptible impact.

Yet haven’t I just read in this thread of discussion the first person testimonials of people who live 7 miles away . . . and 11 miles away . . . who are suffering agonies from these installations?

What is needed to protect the public in this unfolding mass tragedy — which assumes ever larger proportions as we speak — is more people of the stature of Dr. Schomer to sound the alarm.

I recently referred this paper by Dr. Schomer to a friend — after reviewing his resume to refresh my memory (I had done the same in 2009-2010) — and told him that Dr. Schomer was considered a god among mere mortals in the acoustics profession. I told him how pleased I was to see that he had finally offered a paper on this important topic since his reputation and his prior accomplishments were so clearly unassailable.

I venture to state that there can be no more urgent topic to merit such close attention from the noise acoustics profession than the phenomenon of wind turbine noise and its impacts.

What other source of industrial noise can possibly have a more profound impact on so many people — and yet is so poorly understood?

What other source of industrial noise is more pathetically devoid of meaningful regulation than wind turbine noise?

What other source of industrial noise is so unlikely to be regulated even under woefully inadequate existing regimes by regulators such as the MA Dept of Environmental “Protection,” who are politically influenced and sympathetic to wind energy, than wind turbine noise?

The truth, Dr. Schomer, is that we need you, and others of your stature, in this fight. We do not need for you to become “advocates” of our cause — to become “anti-wind” for any reason other than the abundance of evidence that is screaming for attention and demanding caution in constructing these projects.

The symptoms that have reported throughout the world, in mainstream publications too numerous to count, do matter. The “anecdotal” evidence does matter. The global misery that has been so amply documented and so exhaustively reported does matter.

The cause of this misery is not in doubt.

The mechanism should be pondered and studied — no doubt about that. But we don’t need to understand the mechanism in order to know the impacts, any more than Socrates needed to know how and why he would die if he drank hemlock in 399 B.C. He didn’t know how it worked, but he knew what would happen if he drank it.

I urge to read this brilliant essay by Curt Devlin on the “The Science of Wind Turbine Syndrome” that was recently published on the Wind Turbine Syndrome website.

I then urge you to read the “open letter” to an NPR (National Public Radio) Chief Science Reporter that I wrote in response to Mr. Devlin’s essay, from the perspective of an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician).

Above all, I hope that you will reconsider your skepticism about the severity of these impacts, presumably based upon what you think you already know about acoustic impacts (which is a prodigious amount of knowledge), and consider if perhaps there are things that we simply don’t know yet — but which we will likely all understand better in the future.

The impacts are real. The “anecdotal” evidence — which is empirical evidence, after all — is compelling. The misery is profound and it is widespread. In my view, it is criminal to justify building another “wind farm” — and subjecting some new population of hapless individuals to these appalling effects — just because we do not fully understand the mechanism and cannot accurately predict the extent of the damage.

One last thought for you, which I urge you to consider. There is an old, half-humorous expression about the risks of being the one to break ground in any endeavor that says:

The pioneers get the arrows; the farmers get the land.”

I hope that you can appreciate that people like Dr. Nina Pierpont, Dr. Laurie, Eric Rosenbloom, and many other brave pioneers have been shot through and through with arrows for the sin of having identified a problem and doggedly insisted that it warrants serious attention.

Believe me, I know. Just recently, when one member of the local Assembly attacked me from the floor during a public meeting for my “activism” in exposing corruption (saying that even though she was “not normally one for paranoid conspiracy theories” that it was impossible to escape the conclusion that “Mr. Bibler is a tool — T – O – O – L — of the oil and gas interests”) the most vigorous argument that one of the more supportive Delegates could muster in my defense was to say that “even crazy people are sometimes right.”

I know for a fact that this Delegate is extremely appreciative of all of the work that I, and others, have done to expose this corruption and that she is resolute in seeing that the corruption is rooted out. But just as it is extremely impolitic for you to actually give any credit to Nina Pierpont, it was counter-productive for her to align herself with me in any way publicly, even to argue that our mantra of “openness, transparency and accountability” in public government was deserving of any respect (the other Delegate accused us of using this as a sort of camouflage to hide our secret agenda to destroy renewable energy).

Dr. Pierpont and Dr. Laurie are more full of arrows than St. Sebastian. You don’t have to canonize them as saints, but you should at least give them their due.

Above all, I think that you should consider closely the attention that some of your colleagues have recently focused on the INCE (Institute of Noise Control Engineering) Code of Professional Conduct and the INCE Code of Ethics — and the paramount moral responsibility of every acoustic noise expert to be honest in gauging the COMMUNITY IMPACT and NOT to participate in any exercise which will KNOWINGLY create such profound harm.

The shills in your profession who are hired to help obtain the permits for the wind energy developers can, and do, know better. They can, and do, know that great harm will ensue. It is my hope that you will devote more attention as a leader of your profession that this overriding first principle is not so routinely ignored: DO NO HARM.

Thanks for listening.

$5 million lawsuit over Wind Turbine Syndrome (Oregon)


Houston Chronicle (8/11/13)

IONE, Ore. (AP) — A year ago, Dan Williams moved from his home near Ione’s Willow Creek wind farm to Walterville, Ore. He said he couldn’t take the noise of whipping turbine blades any longer.

“It’s hard to explain it to people unless you experience it,” Williams said. “There’s the actual noise that wakes you, but there’s also the infrasound you can’t hear but your body feels. The best I can describe it is like a train or an airplane coming and going.”

Williams filed a lawsuit Friday against Invenergy, the Illinois-based company behind the wind farm, for non-economic losses up to $5 million, as well as economic losses — mostly related to property value depreciation — for $170,000.

Since Invenergy began construction on the 50 wind turbines at Willow Creek in 2008, it has fought in the courts over noise compliance.

First, the fight was over the actual noise limits. Invenergy said the Morrow County noise limit of 50 dBa was acceptable, Williams and a few neighbors argued that the wind farm had to comply with the state limit of 36 dBa.

Although neither enforced it, both the county and the state upheld the 36 dBa limit in seven different court findings.

“I’m extremely disappointed that county and state of Oregon both agree that there’s violations but won’t do anything about them,” Williams said.

After a 2009 noise study conducted on Williams’ property by Invenergy showed turbine noise levels reaching 42 dBa, the wind company embarked on an effort to comply with the noise levels through methods such as triggering turbine shut-downs at certain noise levels. Williams is also claiming the current technology takes too long to shut down after the noise limits are reached.

In the complaint filed Friday, Williams claims “emotional distress, deteriorating physical and emotional health, dizziness, inability to sleep, drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, difficulty thinking, irritation and lethargy” as a result of the turbines’ noise and flickering glare.

In a statement issued Friday, Invenergy said it wasn’t aware of any alleged health impacts to Williams until he filed the lawsuit and would “vigorously defend” itself against his claims.

“Notwithstanding the non-specific nature of these claims, it’s important to reiterate that numerous rigorous studies … have found no evidence to support a link between adverse health effects and sound emitted from wind turbines,” the company stated.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a noise level of 40 dBA is equal to a running stream or refrigerator humming, 30 dBa is a whisper and 50 to 60 dBa is a quiet office.

But Williams’ attorney, Jim McClandish, who did not want to talk specifically about the case, argued new research shows low-frequency wind turbine noise could be dangerous. While “wind turbine syndrome” was once pure speculation, recent studies show the low-frequency infrasound can cause symptoms such as the dizziness and nausea Williams said he experienced.

“The reverberation at low frequencies affects people’s inner ears. It impacts their ability to sleep, their concentration,” McClandish said.

The lawsuit is expected to take at least a year to make its way through the courts. Williams still owns his Ione home. He said even though he has left the property, he has no plans to stand down.

“What other option do I have?” Williams said. “I was there first. This was forced upon me. I’m a human being with strong convictions.”

Swallows & bats “massacred in batches” (Fairhaven, Mass.)


Curt Devlin, Fairhaven, MA

These pictures are emblematic of what happens when birds and turbines share the same environment. They were taken by one of the folks in Fairhaven soon after the turbines went up. There can be no doubt regarding its authenticity because the chain link fence and black bolts are somewhat distinctive due the special construction technique used to anchor the turbines into the granite shelf here.

turine workers kicking gravel over dead bird

One depicts one of the Chinese engineers from Sinovel (a Chinese manufacturer), kicking dirt over the broken body of a hawk killed by the turbine blade to hide it from view. Turbines of this size may look slow and graceful from a distance, but the actually rotate at a tip speeds approaching 200 mph.

Once the turbines went up, what we observed was a pattern that has resulted in a fairly routine massacre of birds around the marsh. First, the turbine nacelle collects heat throughout the day. Then, as the air cools in the evening, the lingering warmth attracts various swarming insects such as mosquitos. The mosquitos attract bats and smaller predators like swallows and such. They are massacred in batches.

This pattern was so prevalent that someone from the wind developer was sent in the morning to walk the grounds beneath the turbines looking for corpses. Sometimes, the harvest would fill a hefty bag. This was done to hide the carnage because the developer has assured the town that turbines don’t pose a danger to birds. I presume many more were flung into the dense undergrowth, undetected or obliterated by direct hits from the blades.

hawk fairhaven

Finally, as bats and smaller birds preyed on the mosquitos, they also attracted larger predators like hawks. You can see this final result for yourself. Gradually, of course, the pace of carnage slowed. I presume this is due to the depletion of the species that once inhabited the marshes there. The population of mosquitos appears to remain prolific, however.

hawk fairhaven2

Editor’s note:  Photos courtesy of Earl Jorgensen, Fairhaven, MA.


Want to rendezvous with folks fighting Big Wind? (Vermont)

Editor’s note:  Want to visit Vermont this weekend?  Want to get together with like-minded people fighting Big Wind and Big (Natural Gas) Fracking?  Consider attending the “Rendezvous.”

Click here.

The following description of taken from the website.


The Rendezvous

August 17 and 18, 2013 | Irasburg, Vermont

The Rendezvous is a bold beginning to reorder human life on the planet, starting with our own region. It is an event for anyone who cares about maintaining a livable planet. It is a time to explore a collective vision for the future guided by the Truth about finite resources; Culture grounded in a right relationship with the Earth; Peace and environmental and social Justice; and Energy generation that protects the natural systems on which we depend.

The Rendezvous is organized by the northern Vermont coalition, Mountain Occupiers; along with members of regional groups such as Rising Tide and 350 Vermont. Attendees will include members of environmental and social justice groups from across New England and Québec.


Wind Turbine Syndrome victim weeps before town council (Ireland)


WTS victim and wife forced to leave their now worthless home

Leinster Express (8/7/13)

A Roscommon man broke down in tears in the Council Chambers, last week, as he claimed his health had been destroyed by two turbines just 700 metres from his home.

Mr Keane received a standing ovation from councillors and members of the Laois Wind Energy Group who had gathered in the public gallery after he pleaded with the council not to give planners a free hand.

“Would you build a 100 metre high turbine 250 metres from your front door, then why would you allow it to happen to someone else,” he said.

Mr Keane and his wife, Dorothy, moved to Roscommon in 2004 to retire in a rural and peaceful location. In 2011 a wind farm was built and commissioned on a hill facing their house.

They had not objected or made a submission to An Bord Pleanala as they thought the worst would be having to look at them.

But the effect of the noise on the Keane’s has been chronic stress, sleep deprivation and anxiety which were disgnosed by a consultant psychiatrist in their local hospital, who has told them the only long term solution is to leave their home.

They are now on a cocktail of medications such as sleeping tablets and two anti depressants for the short term.

Mr Keane broke down as he told the councillors that they would be leaving their home, which is now worth nothing, next month.

“At the age of 65 we have been evicted by a windfarm, we have been evicted and let down by our Government, we have been let down by the ineffectual guidlines.

“The windfarm that brought us to our kness has two turbines 100 metres tall, 700 metres from our home.

“If two people can be brought to their knees, how many people will be in our situtation if 2,500 turbines are built in the Midlands,” he said.

Mr Keane spoke as part of a presentation by members of the Laois Wind Energy Group, who said they did not want to be in his position in two years time.


“Gunfight at the O.K. Corral”: Pierpont vs. Schomer


Editor’s note:  Paul Schomer is an acoustical engineer of distinction.  (Click here to read his resumé and here to visit his company website.)  Which explains why Nina Pierpont was especially exercised when she read his latest report on health effects from industrial wind turbines (IWT’s).

Click here to read it.

Anyone familiar with Pierpont’s research will immediately recognize the eye-popping correspondence between Schomer’s latest research and Pierpont’s 2009 book on Wind Turbine Syndrome.  In Pierpont’s mind, as you will see below, that startling correspondence crosses the line from “Gee, we’re both working on the same thing!” to “Oh my God, this guy pirated key elements from my work, without crediting me!”


So, Pierpont did what any offended pioneering woman scientist would do.  Loaded her Colt Peacemaker, pinned on her “sheriff” badge, contacted Schomer and demanded satisfaction—or his hide!  (See following email.)


So began a fruitful and fascinating correspondence, not just between these two titans, but soon including a dozen or so bystanders who took it upon themselves to weigh in.  (We will be publishing some of the correspondence contributed by “bystanders.”  Including Dr. Malcolm Swinbanks, Dr. Sarah Laurie, Curt Devlin, Eric Bibler, Eric Rosenbloom, George Kamperman, Jane Davis, Itasca Small, and others.  We have secured their permission to reprint, and will post their pieces in the next day or two.)

It is this “ferment,” this dialogue (sometimes with live rounds—from popguns), that makes this website especially valuable.

(In case you’re wondering, this story has a happy ending for both Dr. Schomer and Dr. Nina.  Read on.)

From:  Nina Pierpont, MD (Johns Hopkins), PhD (Princeton, Population Biology)
To:  Paul Schomer, PhD (Univ. of Illinois, Electrical engineering/Acoustics)
Date:  8/5/13 (revised 8/8/13)

Regarding:  Your unacceptable failure to credit my work

Dear Dr. Schomer,

I have reviewed your manuscript for your presentation at the 5th International Conference on Wind Turbine Noise, to be presented later this month. (See attached, “A proposed theory to explain some adverse physiological effects of the infrasonic emissions at some wind farm sites.”) This manuscript is in the public domain, as you submitted it to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission on July 29, 2013.

I have also read the Shirley, Wisconsin infrasound and resident symptom monitoring report of December 27, 2012 (click here).

I am aware, as well, that you personally ordered and were sent (on April 24, 2013) my original research on the clinical effects of exposure to wind turbine noise, published as a peer-reviewed book called “Wind Turbine Syndrome” in November 2009.

I admire your work enormously, and am delighted that someone of your stature in the acoustical community has undertaken to fill in the specific gaps in my own work (which I could not fill, being a physician and population biologist, not a noise engineer or an experimental physiologist). These gaps being, first, measurement of the specific relevant acoustic energies and, second, a specific mechanism for how airborne infrasound manages to perturb the otolith organs (a phenomenon on which there is disagreement among vestibular researchers, I find).

You and others (your colleagues in the Shirley study, and Rick James and Wade Bray) have demonstrated the relevant sound energies. Alec Salt has demonstrated why we don’t hear the low frequencies and proposed a mechanism based on signals to the brain from the outer hair cells of the cochlea. You have now proposed a specific force transduction model for how airborne infrasound might impinge on the otolith organs, and compared this to the whole-body forces experienced by nauseated pilot trainees.

What I did was detailed, structured before-during-after exposure symptom interviews on more and less affected people, including all household members within households where there was at least one severely affected person (thus ensuring that all participants were exposed to clinically adequate levels of sound energy, eliminating level of sound energy as a variable). I also did detailed clinical interviews on all participants for their baseline health status, allowing me to statistically analyze the group for the presence of risk factors, thus addressing what I laid out at the beginning as the main focus of my research—why some people are affected and others not. Motion sensitivity was one of the statistically significant risk factors. So was preexisting migraine disorder and preexisting damage to the inner ear through industrial noise exposure or chemotherapy.

The nature of the risk factors was then used as the basis for my hypothesis that the low frequency noise or infrasound disturbs the vestibular system and in particular the utricle or saccule, as well as potentially activating important position-detecting receptors in the viscera of the chest or abdomen, which are the recently discovered 4th sensory arm of our body systems for detecting motion and position (the other 3 being vision, vestibular, and somatosensory, as you know). Once the vestibular system in the broad sense is perturbed, many symptoms can result, including nausea, unsteadiness, anxiety and panic (even causing panicked awakening from sleep), and difficulty concentrating and thinking, especially visual-spatial thinking. There is a broad clinical and anatomic literature behind this broader concept of vestibular disturbance.

Dr. Schomer, I see three of my own contributions in your July paper which were absent from your December (Shirley, Wis.) report. I find this disturbing, as you do not refer to my work in any way in your July paper. Yet you consider this to be an academic paper, not just a government report.

The ideas that I believe you picked up from my published book are 1) the idea of a risk or susceptibility factor for being affected, to explain why some people are affected and others not, 2) the idea of deriving a probability for chance association between a risk factor and a symptom (though you didn’t actually know how to do it—more below), and 3) attributing the symptom to perturbation of the otolith organs. The idea of low-frequency noise perturbing the otolith organs in fact originated with me, as I know from literature review and consultation with neuro-otologists during the writing of my book in 2008.

In academic scientific writing, as I expect you know, even well-accepted, common ideas are often referenced with one or two classic citations; new ideas are absolutely cited. Thus I think that you were working in haste—or possibly lacking in integrity? (Perhaps you thought that, because the wind industry has used every method to bury me and my work, that somehow—though a published book and peer reviewed, with the reviews included in the book, in case anyone was in any doubt—you could disregard it, even as you seemingly absorbed and, I believe, reproduced parts of it.)

In case you thought you got any of the above ideas from Rob Rand, he and I had a lot of communication after he developed his symptoms in Falmouth, Mass., including his reading my book and contacting me in amazement at the accuracy of my descriptions of what he had just experienced for the first time (despite years of working on other types of community noise), and a many-hour conversation at his home in Brunswick, Maine. These ideas still need to be credited to my published work.

With regard to your analysis of the significance of the association you found between motion sensitivity and susceptibility to wind turbine disturbance—you don’t need to reinvent statistics, and you don’t need to use a population estimate of the frequency of the trait. You can just use a simple 2 x 2 contingency test like a Chi-squared or Fisher exact test, in which your 4 cells are 1) people with symptoms and sensitivity; 2) people with symptoms but without sensitivity; 3) people without symptoms and with sensitivity; and 4) people without symptoms and without sensitivity. In this instance you derive your own population frequency of each trait in your sample population, and use the test to see if they are significantly associated with each other. (I wonder, though, if you had data on all 50 symptomatic people with regard to their motion sensitivity or presence of the symptom of nausea. Perhaps you were just using a seat-of-the-pants calculation in the absence of this data.)

I would think a sentence like, “Pierpont (2009) showed a statistically significant relationship between motion sensitivity and the most severe symptom set, including nausea, panicked awakenings, and vibratory sensations inside the chest, further demonstrating that motion sensitivity is an important risk factor for the level of symptom severity that drives people from their homes,” would only strengthen your work.

Some have suggested that we should collaborate, which of course makes sense when two researchers have come to a common conclusion but have different strengths and expertise. However, at this point, I believe that you have taken and used without attribution several specific, published ideas of mine about the very subject you are researching.

I will be very interested in your reply. I expect that appropriate attribution will be inserted into your paper before it is presented in an academic setting such as the conference at the end of this month. If you do not do this, I will contact the conference organizers, INCE (Institute of Noise Control Engineering), and the Acoustic Society to share my concerns with them. If the paper appears in a journal without appropriate attribution, I will do the same with the editor.


Dr. Schomer replied later that day (8/5/13).  He blew her off.  Entirely.  His opening line:  “Everything I put in my paper, I developed on my own.”  He then elaborated on his position, mainly by asserting a half dozen untruths (called “straw men”) regarding Pierpont’s research, and then—naturally—shooting them down.

The only problem with his depiction of Pierpont’s work is that . . . she never made the claims he says she did.  Oops!

But wait a minute:  In his Shirley (Wisconsin) report, in December 2012—before he bought the book—Schomer trots out none of Pierpont’s work.  Six months later, after buying her book—he trots out her stuff without attribution.  According to Pierpont, there are points he makes which he could not have gleaned except from her work—either first-hand or second-hand.

Yet, according to his reply, she was irrelevant to his (identical) thinking.  Hmm.


“Smells fishy,” by Nate Owens

Since I don’t have Dr. Schomer’s permission to reprint his response, all I can do is summarize the gist of it, here.

Then a light went on in Nina’s head.  She re-read his reply.  She talked to some people who know his work and who know him, personally.  “Hmm.  Maybe we’re talking past one another!”


That evening, Pierpont dialed down the rhetoric and extended an “olive branch” (8/5/13):

Dear Paul (if I may),

Thank you for your reply, and I appreciate it that you are actually now going to read my work.

I realize I made you very angry, so you may not have considered my letter so carefully, but I (of course!) did not claim to have originated the idea of the correlation between seasickness and infrasound exposure. What I could not find any reference to when doing the research for the book was the idea that infrasound could disturb the otolith organs. In fact, my suggestion that it could made one researcher, Neil Todd in England, quite indignant, saying that his work on vibration measurably affecting otolith organs in normal human subjects could most definitely not be extended to airborne infrasound. I got an opposite opinion from Steve Rauch, MD, head of vestibular research at Mass Eye & Ear in Boston, saying that airborne infrasound could reach the inner ear via the tympanic membrane.

That is why I am delighted with your work–you take on this issue. Alec Salt and I have had a debate on this since we presented back to back, answered questions together, and sat together at the wind turbine noise and health conference in Picton, Ontario in 2010. In his model, we know the mechanics of the effects of infrasound on the outer hair cells of the cochlea, but nothing about the effects of outer hair cell nerve signals on the brain once they get past the auditory nuclei; he just calls these “subconscious effects” to explain their effects on symptoms and behavior. I have been insisting throughout that these are vestibular effects of infrasound, because the set of symptoms is congruent with other diseases of the vestibular organs (with symptom sets that extend far beyond nausea), but otologic researchers were not in agreement about whether airborne infrasound could impact the vestibular organs. In terms of a chain of events, Alec’s model is a black box after signals reach the brain. In my model, there is only one little black box, a missing link, in the question of how infrasound impinges on the inner ear. Once signals reach the brain, there is massive congruence between what vestibular disease does and what wind turbine syndrome sufferers experience.

In reading my book, please read the clinical chapter. I gather you have already read the symptom accounts.

One other “straw man” in your reply to me—I have never said that everyone is affected inside any radius, whether it is 2 km (the setback I propose in the book, since I had affected subjects at 1.5 km), 2 miles (which I suggested for mountainous regions), or Sarah Laurie’s extremely long radii for effects in Australia. My work, as I said, is entirely about risk factors for being affected by infrasound and about the complex phenomena of vestibular-linked brain effects, which I show to be present in this situation of noise-induced disease.

All the best,


The olive branch bore fruit.  Dr. Schomer contacted her several days later and suggested she call him, and they . . . talk.


So she did.  He’s finally reading her book.  They’ve agreed to keep up the dialogue.

There’s still the vexing issue of where he got his ideas, and why he didn’t “reference” Pierpont.  But we will leave that to the two of them to hash out—with an olive branch, instead of two blazing Peacemakers.

Stay tuned.


“Infrasound from wind turbines: An overlooked health hazard” (Clinical report, Sweden)

Editor’s note:  The following clinical review article, sent to us by Dr. Mauri Johansson, MD, MPH, is from the Swedish medical journal, Läkartidningen.  Unfortunately for us, it is available only in Swedish.  Fortunately for us, “Google” offers a reasonable translation service.  Behold the result!  If readers spot mistakes in translation, please contact me and I’ll correct them.

Notice that the lead author, Dr. Enbom, is not only an MD, PhD, but—this is crucial!—he’s a neuro-otologist.  A neuro-otologist is a combination “neurologist + otolaryngologist.”  In plain English, this means that Dr. Enbom’s research and clinical expertise focus on disorders of the inner ear (along with the nose & throat).  Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS) is chiefly a disease of the inner ear, it increasingly appears.  The good news is, this physician/scientist (that’s what the PhD is about) has the exact clinical and research credentials to pass judgment on WTS.  (This separates him from amateurs like Geoff Leventhall, a Brit with a physics PhD, and the Australian “wonder,” Simon Chapman, armed with a sociology PhD.  Both men see fit to scoff at WTS, despite neither one having the slightest expertise or remotest credential to do so.  To call this ludicrous is to grossly understate the matter.)

Click here for a PDF of the original (Swedish).

wts 2

Infrasound from wind turbines:  An overlooked health hazard,” Läkartidningen, vol. 110 (2013), pp. 1388-89.

Håkan Enbom, MD, PhD, Ear/Nose/Throat specialist, otoneurology and specialist in dizziness disorders, and Inga Malcus Enbom, Ear/Nose/Throat specialist and specialist in allergy and hypersensitivity reactions.  Both authors are employed at the City Health ENT, Angelholm.  Contact:  inga.malcus@telia.com


Infrasound from wind turbines affects the inner ear and is a potential health risk for people with migraine or other type of central sensitization. The authors maintain that the legal framework for the creation of new wind turbines should be revised, taking into account this fact.

Previous scientific studies on wind turbines and infrasound have been contradictory. They have therefore not been sufficiently credible when planning a framework for the establishment of wind turbines. In recent years, however, a new insight has emerged on the central sensitization, providing a better understanding of migraine, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes [1, 2] and some cases of tinnitus and dizziness. This understanding is also important for understanding how infrasound from wind turbines can affect health. Several studies have found that living near wind turbines often create severe sleep disturbance and depression. They have also found an increased incidence of dizziness, tinnitus, hyperacusis, headache, increased activation of the autonomic nervous system, etc. [3, 4].

In addition to the audible sound, which can provide noise damage and be generally disruptive, mentally, spinning wind turbines also produce a vibrant infrasound that affects the inner ear and the central nervous system without damaging the hearing.

Infrasound is sound with frequencies below 20 Hz, corresponding to wavelengths of 17 meters and above, that is not perceived with normal hearing. This sound, if it is not mitigated substantially, propagates over very long distances. It arises from several sources, such as pulsating flows from chimneys, large eddies (such as wind turbines and large jet engines) and large vibrating surfaces. In scientific studies, infrasound from wind turbines has been measured at levels so low that the sound is not perceived by humans. It has also been determined that infrasound from wind turbines does not give rise to noise damage in the traditional sense [5].

In general, what has not been taken into account in many of these studies, is that infrasound from wind turbines has a rhythmic pulsing sound, and the pulsating sound pressure affects the inner ear, although no sound is perceived by the individual. The pressure waves propagate into the inner ear fluid-filled cavities, and this “massage effect” affects the sensory cells in the inner ear hearing and organs of balance [6]. Many studies fail to take into account the fact that some people are more sensitive than others to the sensory impact. Some are significantly affected by the pulsating sound pressure while others are not affected by it in a significant way.

The rhythmic, pumping infrasound from wind turbines stimulates inner ear sensory functions [7, 8]. Such sensory stimulation can occur in people with sensory hypersensitivity, causing symptoms such as unsteadiness, dizziness, headache, concentration difficulties, visual disturbances, and more [9].  The problems arise even if the noise level is relatively low, since infrasound constantly affects and rhythmically changes the pressure in the inner ear via the sound paths. The pulsing sound pressure from wind turbines also indirectly activates the autonomic nervous system, causing increased secretion of adrenaline with consequent stress effects, risk of panic anxiety, high blood pressure and heart attacks for people with increased sensory sensitivity.

Migraine is caused by a genetic central sensory hypersensitivity causing risk for central nervous sensitization. Migraine prevalence is about 30 percent in the general population [10, 11]. In addition there are other causes of central sensitization, which means that more than 30 percent of residents in the vicinity of wind turbines could be, to greater or lesser extent, affected by wind-related “annoyance.” Risk groups include people with migraine disorder or a family history of migraines, people over 50 years of age, people with fibromyalgia and those with a tendency to anxiety and depression [12].  Children and adults with ADHD and autism are at risk and could have their symptoms worsened.

The issue is not noise damage in the traditional sense, but the effect of a constant pulsating sound pressure that constantly changes the pressure in the inner ear and excites sensory organs there. One can liken it to pulsating or flickering lights—many people are not bothered noticeably, while people with sensory hypersensitivity may experience discomfort. Flickering light can even trigger epilepsy. Likewise,constantly pulsating, non-audible infrasound from wind turbines triggers considerable problems in people with central sensory hypersensitivity. These problems can become chronic, debilitating and lead to anxiety and depression and increase the risk of heart attack.

The current regulatory framework for wind turbines has not taken into account the potential risk to people with central sensory hypersensitivity. Wind turbines are being erected too close to buildings [homes]. The current regulatory framework should be revised with an increased safety distance from buildings [homes] to prevent or reduce the risk of wind-related excess morbidity.

(Potential ties or conflicts of interest: None declared.)


1. Woolf CJ. Central sensitization: Implications for the diagnosis and treatment of pain. Pain. 2011: 152 (3 Suppl): S2-15.

2. Aguggia M, Saracco MG, Cavallini M, et al. Sensitization and pain. Neurol Sci. 2013, 34 Suppl 1: S37-40.

3. Farboud A, Crunk Horn R, Trinidade A. ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’: fact or fiction? J Laryngol Otol. In 2013, 127 (3) :222-6.

4. Shepherd D, McBride D, D Welch, et al. Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health-related quality of life. Noise Health. 2011: 13 (54) :333-9.

5. Work Environment Authority. Noise and noise management. Stockholm: Swedish Work Environment Authority; 2002.

6. Salt AN, Hullar TE. Responses of the ear to low frequency sounds, infrasound and wind turbines. Hear Res. 2010: 268 (1-2) :12-21.

7. Todd NP, Rosengren SM, Colebatch JG. Tuning and sensitivity of the human vestibular system to low-frequency vibration. Neurosci Lett. 2008: 444 (1) :36-41.

8. Enbom, H. Vestibular and somatosensory contribution to postural control [dissertation] Lund: Lund University; 1990.

9. Lovati C, Mariotti C Giani L, et al. Central sensitization in photophobic and non-photophobic migraineurs: possible role of retinoblastoma nuclear way in the central sensitization process. Neurol Sci. 2013, 34 (Suppl) :133-fifth

10. Ashina S, Bendtsen L, Ashina M. Pathophysiology of migraine and tension-type headache. Tech Reg Anesth Pain Manag. 2012 (16) :14-8.

11. Aurora SK, Wilkinson F. The brain is hyperexcitable in migraine. Cephalalgia. 2007: 27:1442-53.

12. Desmeules YES, Cedraschi C, Rapiti E, et al. Neurophysiologic evidence for a central sensitization in patient with fibromyalgia. Arthritis Rheum. 2003, 48:1420-9.

The Science of Wind Turbine Syndrome: Part 3

Editor’s note:  The following was written as a “comment” in response to “The Science of Wind Turbine Syndrome:  Part 1.”  As you can see, I elevated it to a feature article.  (Start reading it and you will immediately understand why.)

As editor, I must say that these spontaneous essays by thoughtful, educated, ethical people give me unbounded joy.  This kind of dialogue more than justifies the existence of this blog.

Let the conversation continue!



“To reach the level of a gold standard, reproducibility has to be achieved through triangulation of results achieved by using a variety of approaches that respect the scientific method”.

Jerry L. Punch, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Communicative Sciences & Disorders, Michigan State Univ. (8/6/13)

Great article! I agree completely with your points regarding the peer-review process, but I would like to add a few more thoughts regarding reproducibility. I agree with the comments made by Carl Phillips on that topic, as it is quite possible to reproduce results—including the effects of confounding—that are entirely erroneous. I think that to reach the level of a gold standard, reproducibility has to be achieved through triangulation of results achieved by using a variety of approaches that respect the scientific method. Together, these approaches provide a means to an end, the end being truth. They include observations, case studies, case-series studies, and epidemiological approaches such as crossover, case-control, cohort, and cross-sectional designs. Other experimental and quasi-experimental approaches can also be useful, if they can be administered ethically.

The wind industry continues to demand definitive, peer-reviewed epidemiological evidence that wind turbines cause adverse health effects (AHEs). Epidemiological research designs, as well as most experimental and quasi-experimental designs, rely heavily on analyses using inferential statistics. Such statistics estimate or infer the characteristics of a population based on an analysis of a sample taken from a population. AHEs stemming from exposure to wind turbine noise are multiple and highly variable across the population, and they apparently occur in a minority of the population. Because statistical significance increases with both large numbers of subjects and low variability, establishing a causal link between wind turbine noise and AHEs may be somewhat difficult to achieve using standard research methods.

More detrimental, though, is the fact that the U.S. Department of Energy is concerned mostly with promoting wind energy, and neither it nor the corporate wind industry have been willing to provide the financial support necessary for the types of studies that could well show the definitive causal relationship they insist is not there! Reliance on evidence from various researchers and scientific approaches, therefore, is currently the most trustworthy path to scientific conclusions regarding this relationship.

Even if Dr. Pierpont’s work on Wind Turbine Syndrome were to be considered merely observational, her findings are well supported by numerous reports of individuals and families around the world who have suffered AHEs in the proximity of wind turbines. These observations by multiple observers are a simple example of triangulation, and when combined with scientific evidence from multiple researchers, they form a corpus of data that overcome the weaknesses or intrinsic biases and other problems that come from a single observer or single researcher.

Finally, to those who say there is little scientific evidence of a link between noise from wind turbines and AHEs, some of the best evidence comes from multiple observations that people suffer such effects when in their homes, symptoms disappear when they leave their homes, and symptoms reappear when they return to their homes. These types of observations have the hallmarks of crossover designs used by epidemiologists and single-subject designs used by social scientists to show whether and the extent to which different treatments affect the behavior of individuals. There are also instances in which people have reported the appearance and disappearance of AHEs while remaining in their homes during on-and-off cycles of turbine operation. Such observations are a powerful indication that the wind turbines, and not other factors in the home, are causing their symptoms.

Jerry Punch

Dr. Jerry L. Punch

Esther Wrightman: Profile in Courage (Ontario)



“Along with the head pressure, I experience nausea, a tight chest and a pounding heart” (Australia)

Editor’s note:  Below is an Opinion editorial by a woman named Annie Gardner, Australia.  Mrs. Gardner is grievously suffering from wind turbine infrasound.  Her symptoms are classic Wind Turbine Syndrome.  The wind factory is named the Macarthur Wind Farm, owned by a firm named AGL, which in turn was till recently owned by the government of New Zealand under the name, Meridian Energy.

Dr. Sarah Laurie’s comment on Mrs. Gardner’s plight:  “This is what happens to people and to the cohesion of rural communities when 140 Vestas V112’s are installed as neighbors.”


“No right to destroy health”

—Annie Gardner, Op-Ed in the Hamilton Spectator (8/3/13)

Quite some time ago, I complained to the Spectator after there appeared an entire two page spread (no doubt pretty well written by Hamish Officer) about how “awesome” the Macarthur wind factory was.

The impacted community felt very strongly that our local newspaper had given AGL and the Macarthur wind factory, two pages, without any equal time to the residents being forced to live around this monster.

No doubt money had something to do with it of course. At the time I was told the Spectator would willingly publish an “opinion piece” from me. However I simply have not had enough time to do so until now.

We saw, once again, in lat week’s Spectator that AGL had placed an advertisement claiming “there is no extra infrasound at the Macarthur wind factory to before construction”.

At the time of writing this email I am experiencing severe pressure in my ears/throat/noise/jaws and teeth from the infrasound within the walls [i.e., inside] of my home. Having been outside this morning, I was forced to come inside, as the pressure is extreme and along with the head pressure I experience nausea, a tight chest and a pounding heart.

These are the conditions which we have been forced to live with day in day out, and night in night out, since beginning October 2012, when the first 15 turbines began operation. Of course AGL deny our symptoms are caused by their turbines, but how can so many families living out to five kilometres from the nearest turbines, all together begin experiencing such serious, constant symptoms, when they’ve lived in this district, with no health symptoms for between 30 and 60 years?

Of course the farmers affected by this disaster of a development cannot afford to place ads in the local papers. I am told ads like those placed by AGL in local papers last week cost nearly $2000 — or near that amount anyway.

Who can afford to match that?

Of course it is no doubt wonderful income for the local newspapers . . . but we would appreciate if our local newspaper would recognise that the local people living around the Macarthur wind factory do not have access to the millions of dollars from this totally taxpayer-subsidised wind factory.

We are furious with AGl, in that the infrasound testing they carried out was only carried out at two homes around the wind factory.

In addition to that, I have a string of emails outlining AGL’s intention to carry out infrasound testing at our home, and others, as we have been particularly impacted by infrasound. They even sent their manager power generation, Mr Adam Mackett, to meet with our independent acoustic expert, to literally learn a bit about the spectrums of noise testing, as he was particularly ignorant of such. We had to pay for that meeting, and AGL have not carried out their commitment to do infrasound testing at our property, nor at any other property where families have complained.

AGL have received over 100 written complaints from several families severely impacted by infrasound (those families are forced to leave their homes and properties for at least two days and nights weekly) and yet they hurriedly released this report saying “no extra infrasound”.

In fact, our independent acoustic expert has discovered serious flaws in their methodology, which of course meant that infrasound (which is emitted when blades pass the towers), is attenuated.

Of course the truth will eventually prevail, but in the meantime nobody has the right to destroy people’s health and take away the right given to them by the World Health Organisation to a good night’s sleep in their own home. We and many others around the wind factory have had this right taken away from us.

Of course litigation in Australia in the near future is inevitable.

Recently the truth has started to emerge, with the discovery that it has been known since 1985 in the US that turbines do emit infrasound, and that they do endanger health.


Wind developers (still) lie about turbine health effects (Australia)


Editor’s note:  Wind developers would have you believe that the health effects from “down-wind” turbines, used in the 1970s and 80s, have magically vanished—presto!—by the simple expedient of installing the blade on the “upwind” side of the tower, thus creating the familiar “upwind” turbine seen pin-cushioning the landscape hither and yon.  In Australia, a bloke named Russell Marsh, Director of an outfit calling itself the Clean Energy Council, says that comparing health effects from “down-wind” turbines to “upwind” turbines is “the equivalent of taking a study about Ataris and applying it to the latest iPads.”

The US research was conducted on older-model wind turbines which the CEC [Clean Energy Council] said were known to have noise problems as the blades were exposed to airflow patterns caused by the wind swirling its way through the supports of the trestle tower structure before flowing on to the blades.

Would you be surprised if I told you that Mr. Marsh’s claims are totally fanciful?  Another instance of Big Wind “making up the facts” as it goes along?  Fudging the truth?  Dr. Neil Kelley, the physicist who was lead author of several wind turbine health studies for the U.S. Dept. of Energy in the 1980s, directly contradicts Mr. Marsh:  “We found the majority of the physics responsible for creating the annoyance associated with this downwind prototype are applicable to large upwind machines.”

Once again, wind energy and its shills are caught lying—but don’t expect them to stop anytime soon.  Read on, below.


This image was not used in the original article

“Newer wind turbines could be just as harmful as prototypes”

—Graham Lloyd, Environment Editor for The Australian (7/24/13), p. 8

Modern wind turbines could cause the same health impacts for nearby residents as an older prototype rejected by the industry because of proven concerns, says the author of a 1987 study that established the link.

Neil Kelley, who presented the findings of a comprehensive study prepared for the US Department of Energy to the renewable energy industry 25 years ago, said in- home testing of low frequency noise from wind turbines was the only way to establish the truth.

The wind industry in Australia has rejected the findings of the 1987 NASA study because the type of wind turbine studied was no longer in use.

The study used laboratory simulations to prove a link between low frequency noise from the older model wind turbines and health impacts. It found the impact of low frequency noise generated by wind turbines was often “confined to within surrounding homes” and that residents became more sensitive to the impact over time.

The National Health and Medical Research Council is conducting a review of its guidelines on whether wind turbines can cause health concerns.

Leading public health officials have said publicly that reports of ill health are the result of a “nocebo effect”, with symptoms caused by apprehension about possible dangers.

Mr Kelley, who served as the principal scientist (atmospheric physics) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s National Wind Technology Centre in the US from 1980 to 2011, said research had shown it was possible for modern wind turbines to create “community annoyance”.

“Many of the complaints I have heard described are very similar to those from residents who were exposed to the prototype wind turbine we studied.”

He said the original research was performed to understand the “totally unexpected community complaints from a 2MW downwind prototype wind turbine.

“While follow-on turbine designs moved the rotors upwind of the tower, the US Department of Energy funded an extensive multi-year research effort in order to develop a full understanding of what created this situation.

“Their goal was to make such knowledge available to the turbine engineers so they could minimise the possibility of future designs repeating the experience.

“We found the majority of the physics responsible for creating the annoyance associated with this downwind prototype are applicable to large upwind machines.”

Mr Kelley said the 1987 study revealed it was the low frequency content of the turbine noise and its impact on the homes that was responsible for the annoyance of the residents involved. “It is similar to the noise and vibration that occurs when a heavy truck rumbles past a house with the windows closed,” he said.

“The house walls filter out much of the higher frequencies and leave only the low frequency sounds and vibrations.”

In Australia, the wind industry has been reluctant to conduct in house testing despite a Senate recommendation it be done.

Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has argued in a submission to the NSW government that low frequency noise from wind turbines not be measured.

Mr Kelley said if low frequency noise from turbines did not influence annoyance within homes, “then why should (the industry) be concerned?”


“Wind turbine dangers known since ’87 ” (Australia)


—Graham Lloyd, Environment Editor for The Australian (7/9/13)

Health impacts caused by low-frequency noise from wind turbines have been known to US researchers and the renewable energy industry for more than 25 years.

American researchers used mock homes, big speakers and seven volunteers to simulate and measure the impact of low-frequency noise produced by early model, two-blade wind turbines under controlled conditions.

A November 1987 report prepared for the US Department of Energy said the impact of low-frequency noise generated by wind turbines was often “confined to within surrounding homes” and that residents became more sensitive to the impact over time.

The laboratory experiments found that “people do indeed react to a low-frequency noise environment”.

The study, A Proposed Metric for Assessing the Potential of Community Annoyance from Wind Turbine Low-Frequency Noise Emissions, was prepared in response to earlier research into “acoustic disturbances” associated with the operation of a wind turbine near Boone, North Carolina.

It found that the standard A-weighted measure for sound was “not an adequate indicator of annoyance when low frequencies are dominant”.

The research was sent by an American acoustics expert to Australian wind health campaigners and has now been published internationally.

The US report built on earlier research by two NASA facilities and several universities. It was presented to the Windpower 87 Conference & Exposition in San Francisco by physicist ND Kelley from the Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden, Colorado.

Wind health groups in the US and Australia said although modern wind turbines were different to the one studied, the 1987 research was significant because industry noise-testing regulations had been specifically designed to exclude testing inside buildings and did not concentrate on low-frequency noise — the two main issues identified in the report.

A federal Senate inquiry recommended two years ago that in-house testing be conducted in Australia but it is not included in the present noise guidelines.

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said the study was not relevant to modern turbines.

“This is the equivalent of taking a study about Ataris and applying it to the latest iPads,” Mr Marsh said.

The US research was conducted on older-model wind turbines which the CEC said were known to have noise problems as the blades were exposed to airflow patterns caused by the wind swirling its way through the supports of the trestle tower structure before flowing on to the blades.

“Australia has some of the toughest noise guidelines for wind power anywhere in the world and there is a growing body of more recent evidence that wind turbines do not produce enough low-frequency noise or infrasound to directly cause health problems,” Mr Marsh said.

But other research has shown that as wind turbines get larger, a greater proportion of the sound is emitted in the lower frequency range.

“The (US) research is highly relevant, even though the acoustic emissions themselves are different between old downwind turbines and upwind ones, where the turbines turn around to face into the wind,” Waubra Foundation chief executive Sarah Laurie said.

“What is important is the impact on the people from the sound energy emitted from the respective wind turbines, how it is experienced by them inside their homes and the acknowledgement that the symptoms are real, and that the symptoms may be perceived but not heard,” Dr Laurie said.

Health campaigners said the results of the laboratory simulations in the US study proved there was a direct cause-and-effect relation between the low-frequency noise and “annoyance”.

The National Health and Medical Research Council has said there was no published evidence linking wind turbines to health impacts. The NHMRC is conducting a review of its advice but its updated report on the issue is now overdue. The South Australian Environmental Protection Agency has recently completed a major sound monitoring program at Waterloo where there have been significant complaints from residents, but the results are not yet available.

When the lights go out: Inter-linked wind farms fail to provide “base load” electricity (Australia)

Editor’s note:  Wind developers gin up politicians by claiming that connecting widely dispersed “wind farms” in a daisy chain is sufficient to keep up with energy demand (called “base load”) and maintain grid stability.  According to this research paper published in “Energy & Environment,” it’s “baloney!”—if you want to skip reading the paper and get directly to the punchline.


“Wind farms in eastern Australia: Recent lessons”

Author: Miskelly, Paul

ABSTRACT: Academic discussion continues as to whether a fleet of grid-connected wind farms, widely dispersed across a single grid network, can provide a reliable electricity supply. One opinion is that wide geographical dispersion of wind farms provides sufficient smoothing of the intermittent and highly variable output of individual wind farms enabling the wind farm fleet to provide for base load demand. In an examination of the 5-minute time-averaged wind farm operational data for 21 large wind farms connected to the eastern Australian grid – geographically the largest, most widely dispersed, single interconnected grid in the world – this paper challenges that opinion. The findings also suggest that the connection of such a wind farm fleet, even one that is widely dispersed, poses significant security and reliability concerns to the eastern Australian grid. These findings have similar implications for the impact of wind farms on the security of electricity grids worldwide.

Energy & Environment · Vol. 23, No. 8, 2012

Click here for the paper.