Why it is foolish to believe that wind turbines can make people ill.
|Waterloo Wind Farm
|This is one of the more controversial wind farms in
Humans are very poor at deciding what is causing them to be ill
History shows us that before science discovered the true causes of illnesses
our ancestors came up with all sorts of explanations which were almost
always quite wrong.
At one time witchcraft was blamed for many illnesses; malaria (as the name
implies) was blamed on 'bad air'; mental illnesses were blamed on possession
by demons; for centuries many illnesses were blamed on an imbalance of the four
'humours', blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm – blood-letting
was an attempt to rebalance the humours.
The belief that wind turbines cause illness is just another of these;
it is entirely unsupported by science.
The fear and anxiety toward wind turbines that is instilled in some
people by irresponsible rumour mongers and unethical or ill-informed
journalists may lead on to
These people are largely to blame for the
epidemic hysteria around
wind farms that we are seeing in some English speaking countries.
There is nothing in respectable
peer-reviewed scientific journals indicating
a direct link between wind turbines and ill-health.
If wind turbines really were making people ill it would not be difficult to
do research to provide convincing evidence
No one has reported on research demonstrating such a link.
In addition to the peer-reviewed literature science depends on rational
argument – the points below show that it is irrational to claim that
turbines cause health problems;
There is no known mechanism by which turbines could
make people ill.
There are very few things known to science that are undetectable to our
senses yet can
harm from a distance – wind turbines produce none of these.
audible sound and
infrasound from wind turbines are much
too low to be harmful);
There is little, if any, correspondence between a person's exposure to wind
turbines and their likelihood of reporting symptoms.
The intensity of anything radiating from a wind turbine must decrease with
distance according to the
inverse square law of physics.
The claimed illnesses are just as likely to occur at larger distances rather
than smaller: they show no
correlation, which is quite counter to the science of epidemiology.
Wind farm workers, who are often very close to wind turbines, very rarely
complain of symptoms.
The great majority of people are unaffected by nearby turbines and
the alleged cases of illness are almost all in people who get no financial
benefit from the wind turbines and in those who started with negative opinions
Farmers who are receiving lease payments and
wind farm workers hardly ever claim a health problem from turbines.
The 'problems' are almost entirely confined to
(because that's where they have had the publicity).
- Legal cases:
From 1998 to 2014 there were 49 legal cases against wind farms on health
grounds; 48 were decided in favour of the wind farms.
(See Energy Policy Institute; written by
associated with wind turbines are those of anxiety-related disorders (see
Opinion from a clinical psychologist).
People who are under the impression that they will become ill if exposed to
infrasound, and are then told that they are being exposed to infrasound, are
likely to experience adverse symptoms.
(See Research into
infrasound perception: Fiona Crichton et. al.).
So the evidence is that the symptoms ascribed to wind turbines are
much more likely to be psychosomatic and due to the
- Car analogy:
Wind turbines have three main parts: a fan, a gearbox and a generator.
Our cars have the same parts.
Sound levels at all frequencies are much higher in cars than near wind
How many of us think that
our cars are making us sick?;
- My own experience:
I have visited many wind farms on many occasions, have even
slept beneath operating wind turbines
a number of times, in a
cabin 850m from an
operating turbine twice, and in a
500m from a wind turbine on another occasion.
I have never heard sounds from the turbines loud enough to be unpleasant.
I have never felt any ill-effects that might be ascribed to infrasound or
any other emanations from the turbines.
- Crystal Brook has the closest
medical practice to the Clements Gap Wind Farm.
(It is my home town and the medical practice is where
Sarah Laurie practiced as a GP for a short while.)
Over the last few years
I have asked about six doctors in the practice whether they have had anyone
come to them with problems that they attributed to the wind turbines.
- Common sense: Wind turbines are machines.
Unless you get caught up in the mechanism, run over, electrocuted, or
deafened by loud noises etc., machines don't harm people.
In particular, machines do not harm people from a distance.
(Guns, if you want to call them machines, are a notable exception; even
then it is the projectile that does the harm when it penetrates your body,
rather than the gun itself harming you from a distance.)