When Did They Know? Industrial Wind on the Health Firing Line

From MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr. — January 20, 2022

“It seems that, in common with the tobacco industry, the wind industry was well aware that its products were inimical to health. The introduction of larger turbines is also problematic because the larger the turbines, the more noise they produce.” (- Alun Evans, Centre for Public Health, The Queen’s University of Belfast, below)

Yesterday’s post presented a peer-reviewed article concluding that industrial wind turbines generate negative health effects for nearby residents: “Wind turbines and adverse health effects: Applying Bradford Hill’s criteria for causation (by Anne Dumbrille, Robert McMurtry, and Carmen Krogh).

That article inspired an editorial in the same journal by Alun Evans of the Centre for Public Health, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Institute of Clinical Science B, Belfast, United Kingdom.

————-

Evans’s editorial, ‘Big noises: Tobacco and Wind’ [Environmental Disease (2021) 6: pp. 109-10)], is reprinted below (footnotes omitted).

In the absence of a direct means of assessing causality by experiment, Dumbrille, McMurtry, and Krogh have resorted to the nine criteria devised by the English Statistician, Austin Bradford Hill, to assign causality. They have applied them to the putative adverse health effects associated with wind farm noise and have found all nine to be upheld.

Bradford Hill’s outstanding contribution to Public Health, with Richard Doll, was assembling a cohort of 40,000 British Doctors to study the epidemic of lung cancer that emerged in the first half of the 20th century. They showed extremely strong associations between the number of cigarettes smoked and the development of lung cancer and other diseases.

These associations were well known to the Tobacco Industry, which had suppressed the scientific evidence for years, but eventually, the companies were made to apologize to the public. For how long have the adverse health effects of wind turbine noise been known?

In 1967, a UNESCO publication discussed, “…the dangers of sounds we cannot hear,” defining Infrasound as <30 Hz. By 1973, the Russians had defined safe upper limits for Infrasound (<20 Hz) in various settings. In the 1980s, Kelley et al. investigated a single turbine in America where around 12% of families within 3 km were impacted by noise emissions.

The passage of the rotors past the turbine’s supports caused low-frequency pressure pulsations to be directed into the complainants’ dwellings. The situation was aggravated by a complex sound propagation process controlled by terrain and atmospheric focusing. The impulsiveness of the emitted low-frequency acoustic radiation was identified as a major problem. Various recommendations were made concerning noise reduction and as to how the Low-Frequency Noise should be measured.

In the UK in 1990, The Batho (Noise Review Working Party) Report devoted a single, important, page to Low-Frequency Noise, observing that it could have a serious effect on the lives of those affected by it: “The noise may be inaudible to the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) and its measurement often requires sophisticated monitoring techniques.” It was stated that the normal A-weighted scale was not appropriate for its measurement, and the problem was a real one, recommending in bold: “…that full support should be given to the current program of research.”

In the UK in 2001, a Report on Low-Frequency Noise by Stanger was prepared for the UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It drew on the Batho Report but went much further. Two years later, when the British Prime Minister launched his country’s “Our Energy Future,” largely based on wind energy, there was no mention whatsoever of Low-Frequency Noise.

What had happened? Although all potential sources of renewable energy were being considered in the early 1980s, by the mid-1990s, wind energy was deemed paramount by the UK’s Government. In 1996, the Department of Trade and Industry, whose remit was to create the optimal environment for business success, with no brief for environmental protection, established The Working Group (WG) on Noise from Wind Turbines.

The WG brief was to identify noise levels thought to offer a reasonable degree of protection, without unreasonably restricting development. Of its 14 members, six were directly, and two indirectly, connected with the wind industry, three were civil servants and three EHOs, with no medical or planning input whatsoever.

The impact of Low-Frequency Noise was discounted, so A-weighted noise measurements were recommended, and only turbines to a hub height of 32 m were considered. The WG’s chief concern was to promote wind energy, irrespective of its impacts on rural communities. This resulted in the highest night-time noise limits permitted anywhere. A proposed review 2 years after 1996 never took place.

In 2011, a letter written by the CEO of the Danish wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, to the Danish Environment Minister, which was leaked and translated, asked why it was:

…that Vestas does not just make changes to the wind turbines so that they make less noise? The simple answer is that at the moment it is simply not possible to do so, and it requires time and resources because presently we are at the forefront of what is technically possible for our large wind turbines, and they are the most efficient of all.

It seems that, in common with the tobacco industry, the wind industry was well aware that its products were inimical to health. The introduction of larger turbines is also problematic because the larger the turbines, the more noise they produce.

Over half a century ago, Hill wrote that Public Health should be, “…ever striving for improved environmental quality with the accompanying reduction in disease morbidity and mortality.” We still have a long way to go to adequately protect people’s health from the impact of wind farm noise, as the authors’ findings have so amply demonstrated.

——————–

4.8 33 votes
Article Rating
73 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rud Istvan
January 21, 2022 10:10 am

I am dubious. The claimed malaise(s) did not show up in an actual infrasound experiment (open access) published in Nature on 4 Feb 2021. And the infrasound was generated in room at 90db.
All the negative stuff is anecdotal.

BCBill
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 21, 2022 10:52 am

“Exploratory analyses suggest that IS may evoke feelings of weakness to a small extent, but the evidence is based on single-item exploratory post-hoc analysis and warrants thorough replication.”

“In the whole-brain voxel-based morphometry analyses, there were bilateral reductions of rGMV within clusters of the cerebellar VIIIa region in the IS verum condition (relative to placebo) from pre-to-post. Usually, this area and other parts of the cerebellum are involved in motor function, but recent evidence also suggests an important role in cognition, such as visual working memory”

I think you need to reread the paper. It was an exploratory trial which identified trends that require more focused investigation.

Peter Fraser
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 21, 2022 1:29 pm

There are scientific papers documenting the detrimental health effects of low frequency noise on workers in the maritime industry

Bonnie Brady
Reply to  Peter Fraser
January 23, 2022 7:26 am

Would you be willing to link to those reports Re maritime industry and IS please?

Fran
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 22, 2022 9:39 am

This 2019 lecture covers measurement through to biological effects of infrasound. Wind turbines are just the latest and most serious source. Research showing negative effects done by various military agencies goes back many decades.

https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285/videos/196181579

Sommer
Reply to  Fran
January 23, 2022 12:34 pm

Please take time to listen to this livestream. Thank you Fran.

Peta of Newark
January 21, 2022 10:11 am

Aw rats, have they beat me to it?
I iz in the process of building a portable infra-sound recorder.
I’m going after anything in the range of 0.1Hz up to 10Hz or maybe 20

I have my 12″ subwoofer in its enclosure all ready (basically an ultra sensitive barometer) to go as the microphone and also a USB oscilloscope that plugs into my lappy to record it all

I think I need a little op-amp preamplifier though to go ‘tween mic and scope – have got the bits but not found the time yet.
Plus the weather’s been too cold, it sets off my Sciatica – which has *got* to be in the Top 5 most painful and no escape things anybody could get

Kinda puts off my hi-tech Don Quixote adventures, but watch this space.

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 21, 2022 12:04 pm

Having designed and built my own HiFi and PA system cabinets and speakers, not sure a 12″ inch sub is going to get you low enough. In a well designed cabinet a 15″ might just cut it but I suspect you are going to need an 18″ driver in a large volume ported cab to get you low enough with sufficient sensitivity.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 21, 2022 2:33 pm

Maybe skip all the circuitry and try an infrasound detector app ? Available for android iphone ipad. Some are capable of detection lower than 1Hz. Or program your own? I have found that one or two can detect earth tremors. Can’t test for wind turbines as no one in this cyclonic region has been daft enough to build one – yet.

H.R.
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 21, 2022 5:36 pm

Peta: Plus the weather’s been too cold, it sets off my Sciatica – which has *got* to be in the Top 5 most painful and no escape things anybody could get”

I used to experience the same with sciatica. I got a tip from an uncle to take 10 mg of chelated manganese. I was very sceptical, but what the hey. I gave it a shot.

I don’t know how many days one needs to repeat that dose, because there were only a couple of times I ever needed to take it a second day. I never had to go to a third day.

I found a multivitamin with a spritz of manganese in it and I haven’t had a sciatic flareup since.

YMMV. I’m a sample size of one. Then there’s my uncle. And I tipped a lady at work and it took care of her flare-ups. So… no rigorous studies to link to.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 22, 2022 12:55 pm

Sciatica use to be called the credit card disease. Came from wallet holding too many credit cards :<)

Joseph Zorzin
January 21, 2022 10:13 am

How many wind turbines has DiCaprio built next to his home?

Pauleta
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 21, 2022 11:15 am

For virtue signalling he built one inside his home, using a bean based diet to move the blades.

sturmudgeon
Reply to  Pauleta
January 21, 2022 11:51 am

cute!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Pauleta
January 21, 2022 11:58 am

Here in Mass. I constantly here people call for more wind and solar energy. When I ask “do you want a solar or wind farm next to YOUR home?”- they all run for the hills and usually I can be sure they’ll never talk to me again- the shame so great. :-}

Doug Huffman(@doughuffman)
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 22, 2022 5:08 am

Wind farms are touted only by salesmen. No one has ever reported on Mr. and Mrs. Franklin (Phoebe) ‘Ma and Pa’ Kettle buying a new Kuntry Kadillac with the profits of their windmill in the North Forty, or that they’re going to put another one in for their kids.

Last edited 4 months ago by Doug Huffman
Dean
Reply to  Pauleta
January 21, 2022 7:27 pm

But the methane emissions……..

fretslider
January 21, 2022 10:22 am

“have found all nine to be upheld.”

I can’t wait to see griff’s.repudiation. Wind turbines, like tobacco, seriously affect your health

They should be torn down

Last edited 4 months ago by fretslider
MarkW
Reply to  fretslider
January 21, 2022 10:48 am

That’s easy, he’ll claim that nobody lives near windmills, and if they do, their suffering is for the greater good.

MarkW
Reply to  fretslider
January 21, 2022 12:51 pm

He’s hasn’t voiced any complaints over elderly people freezing to death, so why would he be concerned about mere health affects.

Last edited 4 months ago by MarkW
Wes Warner
Reply to  MarkW
January 21, 2022 1:29 pm

Freezing to death is a healty effect. Moderately serious as these things go.

Eric Harpham
January 21, 2022 10:27 am

Google Mariana Alves-Pereira and find, znd watch, the 2018 lecture in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It is in English and about 1 hour long. Very interesting.

skiman
Reply to  Eric Harpham
January 21, 2022 12:33 pm

Yes, I saved this and show it to interested folks who usually go, OK what does it mean, I dont have one near ME.

Fran
Reply to  Eric Harpham
January 22, 2022 9:45 am

https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285/videos/196181579

In Waterloo Ont 2019 I think – really facinating. Apparently the seabed around the offshore turbines are dead, unlike oil platforms – this comes out in question period.

Sommer
Reply to  Fran
January 23, 2022 12:38 pm

Dr. Mariana Alves-Pereira is familiar with many sources of infrasound, including wind turbines.

Bruce Cobb
January 21, 2022 10:31 am

#BigGreenKnew
Gang Green have always known that their products – solar and wind power were not fit for purpose, and that, far from being environmentally friendly were in fact the opposite. Lawsuits indeed.

Bryan A
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
January 21, 2022 12:33 pm

#SecondHandWind

H.R.
Reply to  Bryan A
January 21, 2022 5:41 pm

Deadly in elevators.

StephenP
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
January 21, 2022 6:12 pm

If wind turbines have an effect on humans, what do they do to wildlife in the vicinity?
10 years ago a researcher who was studying the effect of turbines in Greece said that the effect on raptors was “not good”. OK, hearsay, but IIRC there are reports of bad effects from wind farms in California, also on raptors.
Does anyone remember this incident?
http://Www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2350267/Rare-bird-white-throated-needletail-killed-wind-turbine-crowd-twitchers.html

Doug
January 21, 2022 10:54 am

Near me in central California ,when wind Gen were first introduced , there was a 30 machine cluster put up in a sheep pasture . The first year the sheep owner claimed a 40% reduction in live births among his flock ..
They knew it then , and they know it now .
I walked around a number of these beasts on a golf course , and in an hour found 11 dead raptors, and dozens of dead bats .
it’s a $500 fine to shoot a hawk in my county, but they are given an exemption .

The industry then had the gall to complain that people were shooting at the machines .

Mr.
Reply to  Doug
January 21, 2022 11:06 am

I walked around a number of these beasts on a golf course , and in an hour found 11 dead raptors, and dozens of dead bats .

Were you down to your last golf ball, so just HAD to find that one?

Bill Rocks
Reply to  Doug
January 21, 2022 11:21 am

Kill a hawk. Maximum $15,000 fine plus jail time in California.

Ron Long
Reply to  Doug
January 21, 2022 12:05 pm

Doug, your finding dead raptors and bats is also what I found walking along a line of these giant windmills NE of Casper, Wyoming. Also several buzzards who were probably attracted by the smell of dead things. How can greenies justify this carnage?

MarkW
Reply to  Ron Long
January 21, 2022 12:53 pm

They don’t justify, they either deny it or try to claim that cats and buildings kill more birds so it doesn’t matter.

ScarletMacaw
Reply to  MarkW
January 21, 2022 1:33 pm

The response I give is that cats kill way more mammals, so rhino hunting must be OK too.

Last edited 4 months ago by ScarletMacaw
Len Werner
January 21, 2022 10:58 am

Wait a minute fellas–look at that picture again–will those things chop up starlings?

(An incredibly destructive invasive species in western Canada, introduced by someone pining for the old country. I remember when there were none, and remember them displacing swallows by taking over their nests.)

We’ve got a few windmills, and the starlings are still here. Not good enough yet; Bugga.

Reply to  Len Werner
January 21, 2022 11:21 am

I guess starlings are occupying the niche vacated by the passenger pidgeon.

menace
Reply to  Phil Salmon
January 22, 2022 10:14 am

Starlings feed on insects and arthropods while pigeons and doves feed on tree seeds and nuts

Oldseadog
Reply to  Len Werner
January 21, 2022 1:45 pm

A friend had a starling problem in his warehouses and workshops, but the starlings vanished soon after a pair of Buzzards took up residence in a tree nearby.

Philo
Reply to  Len Werner
January 27, 2022 6:12 pm

There is a short video floating around. It is one of a Bald Eagle flying through a windmill and getting hit between the shoulder and the next joint. You can see the bone snap and the poor bird just flutters straight down. Awesomely awful to watch. It has to take a Federal Government to make such a big mistake to allow power turbines to be exempt from the damage they do to wildlife.
Bats also appear to have problems because they literally can’t hear themselves chirp under certain conditions.

January 21, 2022 11:19 am

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: a rusting column, overgrown
Stands on a hillside. By it, close at hand
Half sunk, a long and curving shaft lies prone
Though crumpled and corroded by the rain
Its sculptor’s purpose still is plain to see
A giant windmill, spinning to entrain
From tortured gearing, electricity
And on the pedestal these words appear
“We are the Legion of the Green New Deal
Look on our ranks, deniers, and despair”
Nothing beside remains, round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, the meadows fair
And forests breathing life stretch far away

(based on “Ozymandius” by Shelley)

Last edited 4 months ago by Phil Salmon
Coeur de Lion
Reply to  Phil Salmon
January 21, 2022 1:18 pm

Absolutely bloody brilliant, Phil

BCBill
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
January 21, 2022 5:16 pm

I concur!

u.k.(us)
January 21, 2022 11:45 am

Does this mean I have to turn my music down ?, or up.

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  u.k.(us)
January 21, 2022 12:05 pm

Always up!

u.k.(us)
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
January 21, 2022 12:09 pm

Done !!

fretslider
Reply to  u.k.(us)
January 21, 2022 12:13 pm

Definitely up to 11

John Bell
January 21, 2022 11:56 am

This touches on a topic that interests me: “The Hum” which is low frequency, low amplitude traffic (?) noise, that dull murmur, rumble.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John Bell
January 21, 2022 12:34 pm

I suspect that it is 60 Hz hum from AC electrical devices, resonating with human-built structures.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 21, 2022 1:39 pm

Or 50Hz in Europe?

Kevin kilty
January 21, 2022 12:34 pm

I can’t speak for every EIS or permit application regarding wind farms, but the acoustic studies in those I have seen are dismally inadequate. But it doesn’t matter, because by accepting poor work as meeting their requirements our permiting agencies have made it abudantly clear that all of this; noise studies, flicker studies etc., are simply pro forma. They have implicitly encouraged the use of ISO 9613-2 even though, as this article suggests, it isn’t applicable to noise sources higher than 30m, nor further away than 1,000m, and only on terrain that is flat or having a constant slope, with a well developed temperature profile that is not a strong inversion, and not for noise sources over sea, not for modulated sounds, and applies only to A-weighted sound measurements– not low frequency noise, not infrasound, and not ground borne vibrations.

It’s pretty much a farce, but will become increasingly important as wind farms are placed more and more closely to residences.

Kip Hansen(@kiphansen2)
Editor
January 21, 2022 12:46 pm

Add me to the skeptical list — the evidence is so thin and vague that by using their standard anything could be indicted as producing harm — including fresh clean air, pure water, good healthy food.

Len Werner
Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 21, 2022 2:59 pm

….and CO2.

Fran
Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 22, 2022 9:52 am

There are specific pathological changes in living tissues exposed to infrasound. You need to do some actual research before being skeptical. This lecture is a good start.

https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285/videos/196181579

Kip Hansen(@kiphansen2)
Editor
Reply to  Fran
January 23, 2022 1:13 pm

Fran ==> As I said, the evidence is thin — do you have more to offer — a twenty-two year old talk based on associational
-evidence is enough to convince me or, really, not even enough to pique my interest.

Philo
Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 27, 2022 6:25 pm

Kip, this problem started about the second or third time a company put too large a windmill to close to a residency. For some reason it caused more problems in New England.

Search “wind farm new england health effects”.

Kip Hansen(@kiphansen2)
Editor
Reply to  Philo
January 28, 2022 6:24 am

Philo ==> I know there have been lots of reports. What we are waiting for is more research that does not start out LOOKING for harm but simply evaluates health of people near wind farms, measures low frequency noise in peoples homes or neighborhoods, and does real science.

What has been done so far is the first step of science — now they have to do real science to see if their suspicions have any reality.

So far, they have only done the same things that was done with PM2.5 which is anti-science.

Andre Lauzon
January 21, 2022 12:48 pm

I would like to know if rectal cancer is on the rise for people sitting right above those large car batteries. Sorry, but I hope so.

u.k.(us)
Reply to  Andre Lauzon
January 21, 2022 1:10 pm

Sounds like it needs a study, you up for it ?
Your hopes might be crushed.

John in Oz
Reply to  Andre Lauzon
January 21, 2022 1:21 pm

We need to get to the bottom of this

rbabcock
January 21, 2022 1:09 pm

Easy to find out it large windmills do cause problems with low frequency noise: Build a series of homes inside a windmill farm and make the political and environmental people in favor of them live in them for 6 months.

DonM
Reply to  rbabcock
January 21, 2022 6:34 pm

Apply for low income housing (subsidies). See if HUD standards allow poor people to live in such a state.

Rhoda R.
Reply to  rbabcock
January 21, 2022 10:59 pm

Require our elected representatives to live in windmill farms.

Sommer
Reply to  Rhoda R.
January 23, 2022 12:44 pm

Or better yet, site these massive wind turbines in or near cities.

Joel
January 21, 2022 4:13 pm

How did Big Tobacco know smoking was unsafe? They just sold the product. They never did careful case controlled studies to find out if tobacco use was safe. That wasn’t their job (then). The blame lay with the medical establishment. They were very late to the game. In the early 1900’s there were reports of a strange cancer, hardly ever seen before: Lung cancer. It took decades before the medical establishment, including the US surgeon general, alerted the public to the danger. By then, almost everybody knew it was dangerous, anyway.
But, they sued Big Tobacco because that’s were the money was.

Vincent Causey
January 22, 2022 1:04 am

As I have mentioned before, with tobacco, it was just the public against the tobacco companies. But with renewables, it is the public against the renewable industry, the media, the government, academic societies, NGO’s and the controllers of big capital. What a one sided fight. This is not David vs Goliath, but David vs the whole Philistine army single handed.

Ed Zuiderwijk
January 22, 2022 2:23 am

#EVWINDKNEW

Dennis G Field
January 22, 2022 2:38 am

griff
January 22, 2022 3:28 am

Complete nonsense.

Reply to  griff
January 22, 2022 6:04 am

Check out Havana Syndrome griffter…maybe there is a low band equivalent?

Pat Frank
January 22, 2022 7:38 am

Time to launch the lawsuit, “IPCC Knew.”

What came around for Exxon can come around for Exxon’s accusers.

Philo
January 27, 2022 6:01 pm

Some 15 years ago windmill companies were trying to place them in the upper northeast- Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and to a lesser extent Massachusetts and Connecticut. It took about 3 years start to finish for the local residents won big medical payments for multiple problems caused by the ultrasound. It’s not so much the actual “sound” but the major vibrations caused by each blade as it passes the support tower and how the layout of the site further directs the sound effects.

I think all the small installations have been shutdown because it’s just impossible in that area to be able to site, connect, and maintain enough windmills to work. The health effects pretty well ended most of the projects.

%d bloggers like this: