Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

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Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:12 am

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive ... -them.html

I’ve since heard dozens of similar stories from nurses, farmers, panel-beaters, civil servants, businessmen and forestry workers across the world, from New South Wales to Sweden and Pembrokeshire.

The symptoms they claim to have suffered may vary – dizziness; balance problems; memory loss; inability to concentrate; insomnia; tachycardia; increased blood pressure; raised cortisol levels; headaches; nausea; mood swings; anxiety; tinnitus; palpitations; depression – but the theme remains the same.

...

In December 2011, in a peer-reviewed report in the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Dr Carl Phillips – one of the U.S.’s most distinguished epidemiologists – concluded that there is ‘overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate’.

According to a study by U.S. noise control engineer Rick James, wind farms generate the same symptoms as Sick Building Syndrome – the condition that plagued office workers in the Eighties and Nineties as a result of what was eventually discovered to be the Low Frequency Noise (LFN), caused by misaligned air conditioning systems.

The combination of LFN and ‘amplitude modulation’ (loudness that goes up and down) leads to fatigue, poor concentration and dizziness.

And sleep specialist Dr Chris Hanning believes it stimulates an alert response, leading to arousal episodes throug the night that make restful sleep impossible.

‘I’ve spoken with many sufferers and sadly the only treatment is for them to move away from the wind farm.’

But if the problem is really so widespread, why isn’t it better known?

The short answer is money: the wind industry is a hugely lucrative business with millions to spend on lobbying.

What’s more, until recently, it benefited from the general public mood that ‘something ought to be done about climate change’ and wind power – supposedly ‘free’, ‘renewable’ and ‘carbon-friendly’ – was the obvious solution.


On conflicting studies/reports on wind farm noise and its effects:
show



The article is gets polemical at times, but I cut-and-pasted perhaps the most useful parts.

I'm not sure what to think about this--except, perhaps move people away from the wind farms after compensating them/going to court?

It could be an interested unintended consequence of government subsidies.
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby rdsrds2120 on Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:56 am

Now, just as we figured out how to fix the misaligned air conditioning that caused SBS, we figure out how to fix wind farms.

It could be an interested unintended consequence of government subsidies.


How? Who paid for it doesn't make sense on affecting the engineering of the turbines.

BMO
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:23 pm

rdsrds2120 wrote:Now, just as we figured out how to fix the misaligned air conditioning that caused SBS, we figure out how to fix wind farms.

It could be an interested unintended consequence of government subsidies.


How? Who paid for it doesn't make sense on affecting the engineering of the turbines.

BMO



No, it may not affect the engineering, but it certainly increases its production, thus increasing the extent to which more people are affected by this problem.

Also, it may affect the engineering since these concerns--if foreseen--could be ignored since the profitability of producing is so high (thanks to the subsidies).
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby rdsrds2120 on Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:32 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
rdsrds2120 wrote:Now, just as we figured out how to fix the misaligned air conditioning that caused SBS, we figure out how to fix wind farms.

It could be an interested unintended consequence of government subsidies.


How? Who paid for it doesn't make sense on affecting the engineering of the turbines.

BMO



No, it may not affect the engineering, but it certainly increases its production, thus increasing the extent to which more people are affected by this problem.

Also, it may affect the engineering since these concerns--if foreseen--could be ignored since the profitability of producing is so high (thanks to the subsidies).


Are we certain that the building of wind turbines without government subsidies even induces a profit? How much do the subsidies provide in net profit?

BMO
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby fadedpsychosis on Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:48 pm

you know, we have plenty of instruments that can detect low frequency sound (or any frequency of sound for that matter)... it can't be all that hard to drop one near a turbine and figure out just how much 'noise' these things are actually putting out...
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:57 pm

rdsrds2120 wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
rdsrds2120 wrote:Now, just as we figured out how to fix the misaligned air conditioning that caused SBS, we figure out how to fix wind farms.

It could be an interested unintended consequence of government subsidies.


How? Who paid for it doesn't make sense on affecting the engineering of the turbines.

BMO



No, it may not affect the engineering, but it certainly increases its production, thus increasing the extent to which more people are affected by this problem.

Also, it may affect the engineering since these concerns--if foreseen--could be ignored since the profitability of producing is so high (thanks to the subsidies).


Are we certain that the building of wind turbines without government subsidies even induces a profit? How much do the subsidies provide in net profit?

BMO


BMO, if the subsidies were perceived as not profitable at the time of making a decision, then why would anyone produce something at a loss?

Maybe in a few cases, that may happen (because that person is crazy, or because a corporation receives a net-income somehow from incurring a loss), but for nearly all, people built these wind mills because the government subsidy covers many of the start-up costs, thus making the endeavor profitable.


If wind mills (i love calling them wind mills, so bear with me)... if wind mills were profitable on their own, then justifying subsidies for them becomes more difficult--unless of course, the government wishes to increase the production of wind mills by subsidizing it. This in turn makes the endeavor of producing more wind mills more profitable.
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby Timminz on Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:19 pm

The biggest debate around proposed wind farms around here, is generally the acceptable set-back distance from residences. People don't want to live next to industrial facilities, and the companies building them want to be as close to the existing power grid as possible. This supposed LFN is just another reason to make that distance larger, in some cases.
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby tzor on Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:21 pm

Just a point of useless trivia, Germany was working on LFN as a means of keeping a occupied nation placid during the occupations of Europe in WWII. It's a particularly nasty and yet subtle weapon.
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby Funkyterrance on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:30 am

So would sleeping next to a BBS be bad for your health due to the low level yet highly frequent flatulence?
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby koontz1973 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:46 am

Two of these where in the papers recently an are from true stories.

They are if they hit you.
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or catch fire
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or become alive.
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby Dukasaur on Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:15 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:Maybe in a few cases, that may happen (because that person is crazy, or because a corporation receives a net-income somehow from incurring a loss), but for nearly all, people built these wind mills because the government subsidy covers many of the start-up costs, thus making the endeavor profitable.

If wind mills (i love calling them wind mills, so bear with me)... if wind mills were profitable on their own, then justifying subsidies for them becomes more difficult--unless of course, the government wishes to increase the production of wind mills by subsidizing it. This in turn makes the endeavor of producing more wind mills more profitable.

The theory we are being told is, that although wind farms could not be profitably run at present, that by subsidizing these facilities the government is creating a market, which will create incentives for increased research and development, which will eventually bring the costs down and make the subsidies unnecessary.

It is just barely plausible, but I find the theory rather weak. For starters, research and development has very unpredictable results. One might get a breakthrough, and then again one might not. Furthermore, windmills are not a new field where spectacular new discoveries are likely. This is something that has been exhaustively researched for decades already; I see no reason to be confident that another decade of research will suddenly give us a miracle windmill.
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:38 am

Dukasaur wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:Maybe in a few cases, that may happen (because that person is crazy, or because a corporation receives a net-income somehow from incurring a loss), but for nearly all, people built these wind mills because the government subsidy covers many of the start-up costs, thus making the endeavor profitable.

If wind mills (i love calling them wind mills, so bear with me)... if wind mills were profitable on their own, then justifying subsidies for them becomes more difficult--unless of course, the government wishes to increase the production of wind mills by subsidizing it. This in turn makes the endeavor of producing more wind mills more profitable.

The theory we are being told is, that although wind farms could not be profitably run at present, that by subsidizing these facilities the government is creating a market, which will create incentives for increased research and development, which will eventually bring the costs down and make the subsidies unnecessary.

It is just barely plausible, but I find the theory rather weak. For starters, research and development has very unpredictable results. One might get a breakthrough, and then again one might not. Furthermore, windmills are not a new field where spectacular new discoveries are likely. This is something that has been exhaustively researched for decades already; I see no reason to be confident that another decade of research will suddenly give us a miracle windmill.


IIRC, that industry has been receiving these subsidies for the past 10, maybe 20, possibly 30 years--and still the promises of the subsidy have yet to be realized. The subsidy doesn't seem cost-effective at all.

I presume that the subsidy is continued because (1) their lobbyists are effective, (2) politicians who approve of this subsidy are rewarded by the environmental market of voters--who simply don't know any better. They feel great when they vote for the politician who says the right string of environmentally friendly sentences.
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby Funkyterrance on Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:42 am

There are some rather large windmills a few towns over from me and I find them generally creepy. This is not to mention I had to learn about these things in school and they're not all they're cracked up to be.
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby Lootifer on Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:07 pm

All this talk about windmills has got me a-hankering for some freshly baked bread!

Meanwhile. I performed a study/literature review on LFN and the effect of wind turbines on health when I first entered the electricity industry. The general consensus from what information I could find was generally lumped into three areas: Turbine suppliers and Farm developers saying nothing is wrong (well durr), angry residents who have banded together with sweet confirmational bias and spread a whole bunch of misinformation, and one or two studies that have found there is little or no effect unless you literally have one on your doorstep - these guys generally recommend ~1km setback for any occupied residence.

Both the first two parties should be ignored, and BBS's article screams of one of these. What usually happens is thus: Wind farm developer wants to build turbines, local NIMBY resident doesnt want them there. Either proposal goes ahead and NIMBY guy gets angry and jumps on the they are giving me a headache bandwagon; or it goes the other way and developer goes on some campaign along the lines of how its so unfair and the local authorities want to destroy the world. Both parties are circle jerks of confirmational bias and group think.

The actual issue is pretty hard to tie down as generally LFN issues pop up where there has been local opposition to a wind farm; have you got a link for the 2011 report?
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Re: Are Wind Farms Bad for Your Health?

Postby Neoteny on Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:37 pm

My brief search just now left me feeling inconclusive. There's not a whole lot to go on scientifically. A lot of the complaints are stress-related, and there's a lot of possible confounders there. Mostly, I'm too drunk to care enough to look at the methodology.
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