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

Aug 22, 2013

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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.)

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From
:  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.

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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.”

 

  1. Comment by Barbara Durkin on 08/22/2013 at 11:14 pm

    Nina Pierpont’s enemies are a testimony to her character, integrity and humanity.

  2. Comment by Sherri Lange on 08/22/2013 at 11:36 pm

    It’s coming home to roost. The truth sayers, as Nina has been for so long, are hailed as heroic. We have reports of effects to 13 miles in some cases. Thanks also to Dr Swinbanks, who points out the vast personal variance in sensitivities. Some can sit on the porch with a radio blaring, traffic honking, and talking full blast, not missing a beat, and find this enjoyable. Others have to retreat inside behind double pane glass and put on some very soft Mozart. Then add hyperacusis, misophonia, phonophobia, or any other hypersensitive hearing spectrum experiences. (OCD symptoms may yet be something else….misophonia.) The general collapse of tolerance to environmental sounds is pervasive…but add wind turbine noise and ILFN, and watch the suffering and general other medical collapse. Thanks, Nina and Malcolm, for enlarging the previous general narrow band of understanding. Barbara says it right: thanks for the “humanity.”

  3. Comment by Andreas Marciniak on 08/23/2013 at 7:55 am

    Thank you, Nina,Calvin, Dr Sarah Laurie and Malcolm.
    The truth Sayers, as Nina,Sarah,Calvin have been for so long, longer then I have been telling people about the evil of Wind Turbines, you all are hailed as heroic. We have reports of effects in some cases as far as 10 Km.in Waterloo south Australia. Thanks also to Dr Swinbanks, who points out the vast personal variance in sensitivities.
    I will post this to all my contacts around the world.
    Thank you all again.
    regards
    Andreas

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