“We experienced nausea, headache, vertigo, inability to concentrate,” testifies acoustician (Maine)
Jul 13, 2011
Thank you for the opportunity to speak today as a Maine resident.
My name is Robert Rand. I am a resident of Brunswick (Maine), and a member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE). I have over thirty years of experience in general and applied acoustics, including ten years’ work on power plant noise control engineering in the Noise Control Group at Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation in Boston.
The story I relate today really happened.
I have conducted a number of independent wind turbine noise surveys in the last eighteen months in Maine and elsewhere, without ill effects. However in April 2011 I was unpleasantly surprised while on a wind turbine noise survey with my long-time colleague Stephen Ambrose, also a Member of INCE, where, indoors, variously we experienced nausea, loss of appetite, headache, vertigo, dizziness, inability to concentrate, an overwhelming desire to get outside, and anxiety, over a two-night period from Sunday April 17 to Tuesday April 19. It was a miserable and unnerving experience.
During the most adverse effects, the A-weighted sound level outdoors was at or above 42 dBA, and indoors at 18 to 20 dBA, due to the home’s solid construction. The dBA levels indoors were found to be completely unrelated to the adverse effects.
Adverse effects occurred indoors and outdoors when the infrasonic noise level was over 60 dBG, and the adverse health effects were absent when the wind turbine was idle and the infrasonic noise level was under 60 dBG.
It is worth noting that Dr. Alec Salt identified 60 dBG as the inner ear infrasonic sensitivity threshold in 2010. Thus this experience in April was consistent with Dr. Salt’s findings that the inner ear responds to infrasonic noise above 60 dBG.
The distance was approximately 1700 feet from a single 1.65 MW industrial wind turbine.
The owners who built this home for retirement are reluctantly preparing to abandon the home.
We obtained some relief during the survey, repeatedly, by going several miles away.
It took me a week or more to recover. I experienced recurring eye strain, nausea, sensitivity to low frequency noises, and reduced ability to work on the computer for several weeks.
The adverse health effects I experienced are similar to those reported by neighbors living near wind turbines in Maine and elsewhere. They are not addressed by the regulatory framework in place. I have not seen any consideration by wind facility applicants of potential adverse health effects or community reactions.
I now know personally and viscerally what people have been complaining about. Adverse health effects from wind turbines are real and can be debilitating. The field work points directly to wind turbine low-frequency noise pulsations, especially indoors, as a causative factor. I want all Mainers to be protected from these serious and debilitating health effects.
I welcome and urge your support of the Proposed Amendments to the Dept. of Environmental Protection Noise Rule for wind turbine projects.
Robert W. Rand, INCE
65 Mere Point Road
Brunswick, Maine 04011