Sunday, August 02, 2009

Wind Turbine Syndrome a Possible Threat to Human Health

A prominent New York pediatrician, Nina Pierport, has identified a number of medical conditions caused by living close to wind farms, which she has dubbed the wind turbine syndrome. An article on her research was published in The Independent. Among the conditions that she says can be caused by wind farms are heart disease, migraines, vertigo, tinnitus, nausea, and sleep disturbance. Her research, which has been peer-reviewed, will be published in October. Dr. Pierpont has noted that not all people who live close to wind farms are susceptible. Her findings are based on a 5-year study of people living near wind farms in the US and four other countries. Central to her connecting wind turbines with various medical disorders is research conducted last year in the UK and Australia which showed that low-frequency vibrations and noise from the turbines can be transmitted through human ear bones. The research demonstrated that the human vestibular system is sensitive to low-frequency vibration, a phenomenon that was previously demonstrated in fish and frogs. The vibrations and low-frequency noise from the wind turbines therefore can cause abnormal stimulation of the vestibular system. Dr. Pierpont told The Independent that “The wind industry will try to discredit me and disparage me…This is not unlike the tobacco industry dismissing health issues from smoking.” Further research will surely be needed to prove that the wind turbine syndrome actually exists. But in the meantime Dr. Piermont’s research no doubt will be used as ammunition by opponents of wind farms when the siting is anywhere near residential areas and may be considered by planners when it comes to choosing sites.

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