While German activists are growing hysterical over fine particle emissions from today’s relatively cleaner diesel automobiles, the German Allgemeine Zeitung here reports that researchers have determined that low-frequency infrasound from wind turbines indeed do have a negative impact on the human heart.
Infrasound from wind turbines can affect heart health, new findings show. Image: CC BY-SA 4.0
But no German court or regulatory agency seems at all concerned about it.
Recently a working group specializing in cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgery of the Mainz-based University Medical Center provided for a surprise with their research results from studies looking at infrasound’s impact on heart muscle.
Impacts human health
Infrasound has a frequency under 20 Hz and thus is not audible to the human ear. However the low frequency sound is physically perceptible at high sound pressure and lead to health consequences, a German medical researcher said.
Wind turbines convert 40 percent of the wind’s energy into power and 60 percent into infrasound, thus making them a real potential threat to human health.
The problem with wind turbines is that the infrasound exposure is long-term and can travel great distances.
JournalistDepartment of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery (HTG) of the University Medical Center Mainz, on the subject.
Prof. Wahl became interested in infrasound and its impact on health after a friend who lived near a wind park had complained of feeling continuously sick. It is known that all around the world people living near wind parks often experience health issues – some being severe.
The group led by Prof. Vahl conducted an experiment to find out if infrasound has an effect on heart muscle strength. Under the measurement conditions, the force developed by isolated heart muscle was up to 20 percent less.
The strength of the heart muscle is important in the event the aortic valve becomes caked up and thus more narrow. According to Dr. Vahl: “This changes the blood flow and the flow noise.”
Now researchers are discussing whether these changes can pose an additional risk to the function of the heart, the Allgemeine Zeitung reported.
Citing the results, Prof. Vahl said: “The fundamental question of whether infrasound can affect the heart muscle has been answered.”
Infrasound a “heart jammer”
The next step for researchers will be to conduct measurements on humans, Dr Vahl told the Allgemeine Zeitung.
The researchers conclude: “We are at the very beginning, but we can imagine that long-term impact of infrasound causes health problems. The silent noise of infrasound acts like a heart jammer.”