“Wind Turbine Syndrome is real,” reports clinical psychologist (Australia)

Dec 5, 2012

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“Based on my recent experiences and interactions with such affected individuals, I am satisfied that this WTS condition is real. . . .This syndrome is not, in my view, a psychosomatic illness or a nocebo effect.”

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Editor’s note
: The following statement was formally submitted to the Australian Federal Senate as it ponders a bill to curb excessive wind turbine noise. The bill currently goes by the name, Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment (Excessive Noise from Wind Farms) Bill 2012. Whether the Senate passes such a bill remains to be seen, of course.

Click here to read Mr. Trask’s testimony in the original (submission #162 in the list).


Peter Trask, MA Applied Psychology, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

I support the proposed amendments to the Renewable Energy Act (Excessive Wind Farm Noise 2012). Whilst there is much unknown about why people are becoming unwell in the environs of large industrial wind turbines, anything which increases the transparency of the wind industry with respect to actual noise emissions will assist with better understanding of the dose of sound energy being received by the residents.

At present it is my understanding that the noise and wind mast [tower] data is not made available, and therefore it is impossible for the residents to know what they are exposed to, or whether the wind turbines are compliant with state government noise regulations.

The consequences of non-payment of renewable energy certificates in the absence of evidence of compliance would seem to be appropriate, given the gravity of the known effect of excessive noise on human health.

Throughout human history, well-intentioned, innovative, creative, insightful and determined individuals have been ridiculed, sometimes demonised and often criticised for discoveries that challenged institutionalised behaviour and the related contemporary beliefs and and/or theories. It was not necessarily that these people were wrong but rather that they revealed what Al Gore more recently popularised as being ‘an inconvenient truth’. To this very day, this condemnation of such ‘messengers’ continues and as history demonstrates, we have not always learned well from these experiences of the past. Indeed, vested interest of times past and now use many means to deny, deflect, avoid, distract and resist those individuals and groups revealing such emergent discoveries of ‘inconvenience’.

I believe that this process of obfuscation is now occurring in Australia regarding those affected by the so-called ‘wind turbine syndrome’ (WTS). Presently in Australia there is a quite vicious and dismissive attitude toward those people allegedly being affected by WTS. Rather than seeing such people as akin to the ‘canary in the coal mine’, they are dismissed as misguided, disingenuous, dishonest or mentally unstable. Of course, for those so affected, this vilification compounds an evolving trauma experience, and as a leading neurosurgeon recently said, what is worse than people disliking you is when they dismiss you.

As a practising psychologist, I have only recently become aware of this WTS first-hand, although for some years I have had some peripheral exposure, via the mainstream media. More recently, however, I have met many individuals directly affected by WTS, and have had the privilege to be providing two individuals with psychological treatment and support.

Based on my recent experiences and interactions with such affected individuals, I am satisfied that this WTS condition is real.  This conclusion of mine is based upon both hearing the stories of affected individuals and being aware of and having access to the limited yet growing scientific body of evidence highlighting this deleterious syndrome.

This syndrome is not, in my view, a psychosomatic illness or a nocebo effect. If this syndrome was primarily a psychosomatic condition, the genesis of the WTS would be rooted in inappropriate or irrational cognitive processing and my assessment of affected individuals elicits no evidence to support this. Moreover, psychosomatic conditions require a level of conscious awareness of adverse stimuli to activate somatic symptoms in the body. Conversely, I believe that the WTS affects people at a sub-conscious level, creating somatic symptoms without a conscious (or cognitive) awareness of why. Accordingly, this WTS is potentially a very insidious syndrome as the usual cognitive associations are not established till much later. At this later stage, psychosomatic responses may emerge, similar to people affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, but only retrospectively.

With regard to the nocebo effect (believing that one will be adversely affected in exposure to specific stimuli previously labelled as toxic or dangerous), the various theories of motivation ought to be acknowledged. Clearly, motivation among humans is a complex phenomenon. Nevertheless, for those affected by WTS that I have met and treated, there is no plausible motivation-based explanation for why they would want to be sick nor expect to be so, based on their prior life and medical histories. Furthermore, these are people who have possessed a very close affinity and love for their homes and locations, and so, have endured this syndrome for extended periods, and then in desperation, like environmental refugees, have had to leave their homes, with substantial regret.

I shall leave the scientific and/or neurological theories and explanations to the experts. Nevertheless, the existence of low frequency sound energy, produced by wind turbines, and inaudible to the human ear, may be the reason for this syndrome. While this low frequency noise or sound energy (aka infrasound) may be inaudible and thus not able to be consciously perceived by the human ear, it does appear that the ear’s vestibular system is still capable of perceiving the presence of this infrasound, and so send signals to the central nervous system for processing, in this case without the conscious awareness of the affected individual. Despite this, it appears that this infrasound stimuli activates the automatic survival response, more commonly known as the fight/flight/freeze response. Consequently, somatic symptoms are experienced by affected individuals. These symptoms include hyper-arousal, anxiety, racing heart, nausea, muscle tension, panic, concentration and attention problems, memory difficulties, and more. At night, these symptoms can lead to insomnia and sleep disturbance, and consequent stress and emotional instability in the waking hours.

On the basis that this syndrome is not a psychosomatic illness (in the first instance) or nocebo effect, relief for affected people may only be achieved by removing them from the environment apparently responsible for catalysing their symptoms. Dialogue with affected people provides anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of this approach. Sadly however, chronic exposure to infrasound over an extended period, may more permanently alter the neurological state of affected people, and in such cases, we observe trauma-like symptoms among this cohort.

In my opinion, this is a serious health issue affecting a relatively small number of people in rural areas only, and so they lack the critical mass to adequately advocate for their rights. Vested interests, including government, business, environmental groups and communities want wind energy generation to be accepted and propagated across our country. Nonetheless, it is incumbent on governments at all levels to ensure the safety of fellow Australians. To this extent I appeal to the Senate of Australia to investigate this health issue, to allocate funds to undertake further research into the apparent WTS, and to consider a moratorium of further wind farm development until adequate and robust research is concluded and analysed. In the meantime, I would also ask that our elected representatives listen with open minds and hearts to those people currently substantially and chronically affected by a health problem that remains poorly understood.

  1. Comment by Marsh Rosenthal on 12/05/2012 at 10:32 pm

    Poison containing bottles cannot be sold unless a dire and clear warning is printed on the label. Often, to emphasize the danger of ingesting the contents, a skull and crossbones is the graphic that accompanies the printed text.

    In the United States, cigarettes must carry the Surgeon General’s warning of the danger to the smoker’s health posed by the product inside the package.

    Why is it that industrial scale wind turbines are allowed to be situated in proximity to unsuspecting human populations without any indication of their potential lethality, their certain induction of the various symptoms of Wind Turbine Syndrome, with the progression into irreversible Vibro-acoustic disease, and the terrible risk of driving individuals through hopelessness and despair of losing all that they have worked for, to suicide?

    Why is this being allowed to happen, when the industry that purveys these machines is fully aware of the terrible social and health implications of living in proximity to their products?

    The General Electric Company has specified that their machines must be placed at least 1500 feet from the nearest residence, a clear recognition of the risks. The reality of the situation is that the distance should be more like two to three miles from the nearest wind turbine, but that would fairly eliminate the placement of most of the enormous machines in American towns. Chinese built machines come with no such prohibition, nor would I gather do the other foreign made machines.

    As long as most naive American localities are willing to spring for the false promises of easy money from the wind power snake oil carpetbaggers, and settle for twenty-four dollars worth of trinkets and beads, the disconnect of the mass of ordinary people will continue, and they will be used as sacrificial guinea pigs in the great renewable energy experiment.

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  2. Comment by Marie Burton on 12/07/2012 at 12:14 am

    Why are the governments continuing to ignore evidence about wind turbines? These are industrial and should be treated as complexes NOT Farms. This is a typical case where money comes first and not peoples’ welfare. There are many groups worldwide against wind turbines, as they have affected many people, and governments continue to ignore studies done that show turbines cause noise and this in turn causes medical problems through sleep deprivation.

    The wind industry spouts the same old spiel without peer-reviewed evidence that turbines do not cause problems. Any evidence they do provide is not independent research. Too often, as in the case of Depo-Medrol, the proof from overseas was ignored so that people injected with the drug were told by insurance companies they would not be covered if they did not have the injection, leaving many with Arachnoiditis.

    When confronting the medical board in charge of hearing symptoms from drugs, people were told, “We don’t take notice of what happens overseas,” leaving people suffering severe medical problems. Is this another case?

    The WHO says there are problems, so why ignore? Except, money seems go be the answer. World experts show problems, so governments should ignore the wind industry and take notice of the experts.

    Besides, turbines have proven to be inefficient, requiring backup 24/7 from coal or gas, and costly for the consumer

  3. Comment by ItascaSmall on 12/07/2012 at 2:19 am

    Another quite welcome statement by an obviously competent professional.

    Marie Burton says, “…this in turn causes medical problems through sleep deprivation.” Yes, this is true. But, sleep deprivation isn’t the only thing that causes the medical problems! When I am at my home, from which I am a Wind War Refugee, my physical distress increases dependent upon logged observations of wind direction and speed and can be made very much worse if there is a cloud layer between my home and the Monsters in conjunction with the wind factors, especially if the wind is out of the western half of the circle swept by the Wind Monsters along with the afternoon or evening sun shining under the clouds toward me and the Monsters. However, the distress occurs to varying degrees independent of the time of day or night. When my body gets worse, if it’s daylight, I can then look at the WTs approximately 11.25 miles away and confirm they are turning into the wind from particular directions. At night, I can turn to the Weather Channel and check the wind speed and direction, which always confirms the cause of my distress is the Monsters. The degree of physical distress is directly correlated with the direction, speed, and cloud cover or clear sky.

    So, the medical problems are directly related to the physical conditions at the Wind Monsters in Real Time. It is not just sleep deprivation that produces medical problems!

    I respect Marsh Rosenthal and his comments, but, he says, “…the distance should be more like two or three miles from the nearest wind turbine,…” I may sound like a broken record, but, I will not give up on stating the experience of myself and others in the region of North-Central Arizona affected by Iberdrola’s Dry Lake Wind Power Plant (they actually have a sign that does not call it a “Farm”).

    Two to three miles ARE NOT ENOUGH BUFFER TO PROTECT LIVING BEINGS FROM INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINES!!!

    These Wind Monsters adversely affect people and animals at least 13 – 15 miles distant, when all factors are favorable to the propagation of the infrasound they generate. That includes topography, geology, groundwater, vegetation, wind speed and direction, and cloud cover. And, a geodesic dome house that was featured in a prestigious home magazine, is being vibrated apart at approximately 11.25 miles distant! Oh, yes, its human inhabitants ARE affected by WTS, too!

    Until victims and other opponents of these insidious and pernicious killing machines comprehend that these MONSTERS do NOTHING TO SAVE THE EARTH from global warming, the NIMBY mentality will prevail!!! Don’t put them within two or three miles of my home or your home or his home, but it’s fine if you put them 2.1 or 3.1 miles away – that’s NIMBYism. Let’s say such distance IS sufficient to protect humans – it’s not, but for the sake of the discussion I’ll pretend for a moment. I’m concerned about the other living beings who are innocent; oblivious to the dangers and even to what is causing their distress. If one believes it’s okay to site them among the animals, then he is a NIMBY. I don’t believe those who frequent this wonderful forum are unconcerned about the animals. But, in desperation, the only solution many can see to the criminal war on life being perpetrated via Wind Monsters is to capitulate to the enemy by begging for any distance they perceive might relieve human suffering because they don’t believe they can achieve victory for all living creatures. They are defeated and just hoping for whatever bone they can get the enemy to throw to them.

    This is one extremely important reason John Droz is valiantly trying to educate us and the world in the truth that industrial wind energy is based upon junk science! It is NOT the answer to global warming whether planet-destroying or not, no matter how far from human beings they site it. The indoctrinated masses do not comprehend this; they do not care about our physiological illness; they do not care how many humans, birds, bats, raptors, goats, sheep, cattle, deer, elk, etc. are injured or killed – because they BELIEVE IT WORKS AND WILL SAVE THE PLANET. They don’t care how much money, how much property value, how much viewshed they destroy – because the brainwashed BELIEVE IT WORKS AND WILL SAVE THE PLANET. Their guilt and the effectiveness of propaganda and brainwashing close their ears, eyes, and minds to Truth. Until we can make meaningful inroads, and they begin to believe the truth about industrial wind energy, we will never win the Wind War.

    What is a sufficient buffer for living beings from the nearest Wind Monster? The only logical and rational answer is, there is no answer, because the question sets up a fallacy of false dilemma. If there is no useful purpose for them, they don’t belong anywhere. Hence, it is a moot question.

    We have to come together in the realization that the Wind War can only be won by defeating the entire industry – allowing none of the Monsters to be sited anywhere on the planet! Yes! That means in the WATER, TOO. If you haven’t yet read Ivan Buxton’s expose that describes the effects of infrasound on living creatures on land and in the water, you would do well to do so before believing water siting is the answer.

    There are also adverse weather effects that will make global warming look good! We must defeat the entire industry, or the junk scientists will wish we just had global warming…

  4. Comment by Pauline Davis on 12/08/2012 at 7:37 pm

    In response to the above:
    Comment by ItascaSmall on December 7, 2012 at 2:19 am

    You, John Droz, Ivan Buxton and a “gazillion” of us agree with what you are saying above!

    But, HOW DO YOU PROPOSE “WE” go about DEFEATING THE ENTIRE WIND INDUSTRY that has been so ENTRENCHED for decades dating back to the early 1970’s into the very fabric of ‘all’ our so-called democratic institutions? Currently more than 97 countries are involved in the Wind Industry now, with China leading the way.

    My dear friend, Itasca, the REALITY we all are afraid to face is that the Wind Industry has evolved into an untouchable, VORACIOUSLY GLOBAL “BIG BUSINESS” for PROFIT aided by large governmental tax subsidy programs worldwide, which has been further catapulted “it” into the STRATOPHERE by the perpetual fallacy and deceptiveness around the Global Warming Green Energy propaganda and inconvenient truth mongers.

    Are you aware of how many small, large and offshore wind turbines there are worldwide in operation, fully commissioned, and how many more are on the books, consent authorized, consent applications submitted, concept/early planning, failed proposal, cancelled and dormant? The numbers are staggering!

    LIFE as we know it—animal, mineral and vegetable—be damned!

    The WIND INDUSTRY is so obscenely massive and “OUT OF CONTROL,” only a miracle or cataclysmic occurrence may be able to stop it.

  5. Comment by Itasca Small on 12/15/2012 at 2:45 am

    In answer to Pauline Davis. Please forgive my tardy response.

    I appreciate Pauline’s impassioned, realistic commentary. She does an excellent job of setting-forth the harsh reality of the enormous mountain before us in this global war. It sobers me to even imagine, from her most-apt accounting, the sheer number of wind projects existent and threatened across the globe. Honestly, I must acknowledge that I do not have a real concept of those numbers. I would highlight, however, her inclusion of: “…failed proposal, cancelled and dormant…” These are the good signs that we are making inroads on the battlefronts.

    I think I prefer not to know the overall numbers, in order to avoid succumbing to the prospect of wind energy destroying the planet and all meaningful life upon it. The reality of my personal experiences in this war urges me onward to wage the battles for the sake of all life on Earth (Non-violently, of course!). If I focused on the sheer size of the enemy, it would be harder to resist submitting in defeat. Especially when my physical health is still an inhibiting factor.

    But, in the interest of stark reality, I am glad to be shown a glimpse of the vastness of the enemy’s foothold. After all, if a general does not know what he is up against, how can he marshal his forces? If we, as Wind Warriors, do not know how daunting the task, how can we “gird our loins,” expand our battle tactics, and call upon God, to meet the challenge?

    Pauline, you ask how “We” go about defeating the entrenched cancerous evil that is the wind industry. I cannot say that I know the absolute answer. But, one thing has dominated my thoughts whenever I try to know. It may sound trite or too simple, but, I believe the ultimate answer lies in attempting to reach each individual human being with Reason and Truth. One-to-one revelation of real facts to the majority of humankind, with the right approach, and they will listen and hear the truth. Many Wind Warriors are already doing this through such forums as this, other websites, articles wherever possible, stalwart professionals refusing to be silenced,every person who appears at a public meeting or gathering, every letter to public officials, every letter to the media, etc. Progress is happening!

    No single one of us can see the Big Picture; only God knows every inroad occurring to undermine the agenda. One of the earliest encouragements I experienced in our fight at the county level was that when it seemed we were making NO progress, something apparently outside our sphere of activity happened in a positive victory – sometimes a small one, but, enough to allow us an inroad in our efforts. At those moments, it would be plain to see that our activities had “bought us time” until that small victory would help build our arsenal.

    I sit at my sister’s home 150 miles from my own, typing these words because I had to seek refuge as one of the more sensitive of my community at the large distances the IWTs are from us. But, the greatest victory in our battlefront is the fact that RES Americas has abandoned for the foreseeable – and hopefully, forever – future, its plans to construct a 90-200 IWT wind plant within one-half-mile of the outer walls of our homes! Their official reason is funding problems (Praise the Lord for enough of our elected officials in Washington, DC, heeding the hew and cry, to begin de-funding the boondoggles!). However, we know of several other reasons, including all we have done to make them know just how hard we will fight to stop expansion of the wind invasion in OUR BACKYARD, while fighting for the OVERALL victory. Our Golden and Bald Eagle populations are a real hindrance, to them. Our background noise study results of 17.5dBA – 19.5dBA are a daunting obstacle for them.

    I and others have had to flee the existing distant IWTs, but, for those who can not yet acknowledge that their new health issues are caused or exacerbated by them, the victory is they can still live in their homes, for now. If we had not defeated RES Americas, we would at this moment be facing the monsters towering above our homes.

    Many factors have stymied wind energy growth to varying degrees. If there was no resistance, there would be thousands more online and under construction. Wind Warriors in several nations are hindering expansion of the wind agenda in their BACKYARDS! There is positive news, and we must remember it.

    What do we do to defeat Monster Wind once and for all? We thank God for the brave professionals who are working hard to win the war for us all. We think outside the box and find new and better ways to reach one person at-a-time, as we evaluate what works and continue to do those things. We have to become a living dynamic, evaluating and adjusting as we see positive effects, no matter how small. Because God uses all the good we do to help effect His will, and only He knows the ripple effect of each pebble we throw “Into the Wind.” And, “We” are His “pebbles.” Only He knows what fertile ground each comment we make to the people we meet in the grocery store, at the gas station, at school, at work, etc., will fall into to make it grow and instill the desire to fight this enemy, along with its allies, in each one of them.

    We must not be discouraged by seeing only the visible surface of the battleground. A tree can stand for years with a rotten heart, but fall in an instant with the right gust of “wind.” We can create a crosswind that will nullify the insidious advance of the Wind Industry Monsters. We can cause the heart to rot under the surface while whipping-up that crosswind.

    We also must realize that without the Creator of the Universe, we can do nothing. “If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31b

    And, we would do well to remember that the fall of many a giant, from Goliath to Rome to the Soviet Union, has proven the adage, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall!” Whenever Man attempts to build a structure in defiance of God and His laws, including the Laws of Physics, it begins to rot within because it is constructed of faulty materials and flawed engineering, by wicked men. When the time is right, it falls suddenly, with finality.

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