The debate on the effects of infrasound on the health of people and animals living near wind parks has been raging on with more intensity than ever – especially since Denmark unexpectedly halted the permitting of new wind parks due to “health concerns” from infrasound.
Infrasound is defined as low frequency sound under 16 Hz – below the threshold of human hearing. Wind farms are notorious for generating these potentially harmful sub-audible frequencies. It is said that infrasound can be sensed as pressure to the ears or to the stomach, or as a slight vibration.
There’s a Swedish report available on the hazard, click here. It calls for the legal framework for the creation of wind parks to be revised.
German NTV public television reports recently that in Denmark mink farm operator Kaj Bank Olesen from Herning is a neighbor to four large-scale wind turbines only 330 meters away. Olesen and other neighbors had protested the planning of the wind turbines, fearing negative consequences from their noise and shadows.
However the community rejected their claims, basing it on a lack of credibility. The turbines were installed. Now it seems that Olesen’s earlier fears may have had merit as he claims that the infrasound generated by the turbines are making the mink animals on the farm aggressive and is leading them to die. After one night he found 200 dead minks the next morning. The incident has since sparked the Danish government to take action. Permitting of wind parks in Denmark is now on hold.
The alleged health impacts from wind turbines have been making the news (0:55) in Germany as well.
In Schleswig Holstein, Germany, the Hogeveens have been forced to sleep and eat in their basement in a desperate attempt to find refuge from the maddening infrasound emitted by recently installed turbines near their home.
The wind industry and many government authorities deny there’s a connection between infrasound from wind turbines and health impacts on humans. Hermann Albers of a wind lobby group says there’s no connection between the turbines and the irritation sensed by those living close by, claiming that it is a “subjective” perception or that it’s “politically motivated”. In other words, people living close to wind turbines are just making it all up and they should instead just shut up and live with it.
The German government says it will study the matter further and consider if infrasound should be taken into consideration during the wind park permitting process.
In Australia a link has also been found between wind turbines and health in the so-called Cape Bridgewater report. Steven Cooper investigated the possible link, saying that availbale data so far is very small, but adds:
There’s definitely a trend. There’s definitely a connection between the operation of a wind form and what the residents were identifying as disturbances, and so it’s definitely open to debate as to what the cause or link is in terms of that data.”
Data from comprehensive studies are difficult to come by. Wind farms are reluctant to share their data with researchers, fearing unfavorable results and consequences.
The impacts from infrasound on human health will continue to be debated in the future. But other things are already sure and beyond debate: Wind farms are rapidly losing their attractiveness and support from the public due to their poor performance, hazard to birdlife, ruining of property values, and their blighting of the natural landscape.
An adverse connection to human health would be yet another large nail in the coffin of the now increasingly controversial wind industry.
Hat-tip: Wolfgang Neumann at Facebook.