A warning to wind turbine installers: be careful where you set up shop. People living near wind turbines have long complained of health problems, and now a study from New York pediatrician Dr. Nina Pierpoint attempts to confirm the legitimacy of their complaints.
According to Pierpoint’s five-year study of people living near turbines in various countries, the spinning menaces cause nightmares, nervousness, tachycardia, and prevent children’s brains from developing normally. These are hefty claims, but Pierpoint believes that so-called Wind Turbine Syndrome is caused by low frequency vibrations that interfere with our sense of balance.
Pierpoint’s study is far from the last word on the subject–her sample size was limited to only 10 families. Organizations like the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission are still asking the public for their thoughts and experiences with turbine sickness, and the British Wind Energy Association says that a 2007 study led to only four complaints from 2,000 turbines. The same organization notes that 94% of people living near turbines support them.
Of course, the BWEA has an agenda of its own. As Pierpoint points out, “This is not unlike the tobacco industry dismissing health issues from smoking.” And the doctor’s study does bring up a salient point: a wind turbine transmission line infrastructure could eliminate these NIMBY complaints by making it possible for large-scale wind farms to be built far from towns and cities. More wind turbine complains–whether related to health or aesthetics–will pop up as turbines become more common. Perhaps we should slow down with the turbine-building until more transmission lines are in place.
[Via UK Daily Mail]