"Residents living near wind turbines are increasingly complaining of headaches, dizziness, insomnia and other ailments." (Japan)
Mar 19, 2009
March 16, 2009
Residents living near wind turbines in Japan are increasingly complaining of headaches, dizziness, insomnia and other ailments, sparking fears that the new energy source could pose a risk to public health.
Forty year-old Tsuyoshi Okawa’s family began to lose feeling in parts of their bodies, suffered bouts of dizziness, and were unable to sleep properly in their house, which is about 350 meters from Gumihara wind farm. When they spent time away from the house, the symptoms quickly dissipated. But as soon as they returned, they would flare up again. Low frequency sounds produced by the turbines are to be blamed, feels Japan Environment Ministry.
Low frequency sounds, which measure 100 Hertz or less, are difficult for humans to hear. They are typically produced by air-conditioners and factory boilers. For years, people living within the vicinity of such equipment have complained of similar illnesses.
At the family’s request, a group of acoustics experts conducted noise level tests and found that low frequency sounds were causing vibrations throughout the house. Although they advised the Okawa family that those sounds could not adversely affect their health, the family decided to rent an apartment farther away, where they could go to sleep each night.
Some local residents have dubbed the ailments—wind turbine diseases.