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Wind Turbine Syndrome - A Communicated Disease?

 

by Energy Matters

Wind Turbine Syndrome
Two new studies have found the prevalence of complaints of 'Wind Turbine Syndrome' greatly increase when people have been exposed to information from anti-wind farm groups concerning claimed adverse health effects.
  
The first study, by Simon Chapman PhD FASSA, a Professor in Public Health at the University of Sydney, found only 120 individuals living within 5km of a wind farm have complained about wind farm noise and health effects - just 1 in 272 of people living within this range. 
  
68% of these complaints relate to 5 wind farms that have been heavily targeted by anti-wind farm groups. 
  
Based on this and other observations, Dr. Chapman concludes that complaints are "consistent with psychogenic hypotheses that health problems arising are "communicated diseases" with nocebo effects likely to play an important role".
  
A nocebo response is due to a subject's pessimistic belief and expectation that a given situation will produce negative consequences.
  
Dr. Chapman's study report can be viewed here (PDF) and a further discussion about his findings here.
  
The second study was based on an experiment carried out by University of Auckland researchers whereby participants were shown anti-wind farm information and then exposed to infrasound and "sham" (fake) infrasound.
  
"High-expectancy participants reported significant increases, from preexposure assessment, in the number and intensity of symptoms experienced during exposure to both infrasound and sham infrasound."
   
In February, South Australia's Environment Protection Authority  released a report showing infrasound levels at homes near wind turbines is no greater than what is experienced elsewhere.
   
In January 2012, Australia's Climate And Health Alliance (CAHA) stated "There is no credible peer reviewed scientific evidence that demonstrates a link between wind turbines and direct adverse health impacts in people living in proximity to them."
  
Much of the information circulating within Australia claiming wind farms are responsible for some adverse health effects experienced by nearby residents originates from two reportedly strongly connected groups,  The Waubra Foundation the Landscape Guardians.
    
    

 

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