This page gives recent evidence to support the
concern that putting wind turbines only 1320 feet away from homes (as provided in the Adams County Wind Ordinance) would be reckless
with the health of Adams County residents. Even though some
people are able to tolerate living that close, there is ongoing
scientific investigation into the reasons why at least 25% to 50% of people
living within a half mile of a turbine will suffer from a variety of physical
and psychological symptoms.
It is of particular concern that the severity of symptoms has led a small
but growing number of people to abandon their homes (and be unable to sell
them), not only in the United States but also in other countries. Far
from "just being in their head," this issue has already led the World Health
Organization and other respected scientific groups around the world to seek
longer setbacks ranging from one-half mile (2640 feet) to one mile and a
half (7920 feet) from homes, schools, and businesses.
"My husband and I have decided to walk away from
our property. I can't stand it here for another day. I can't
leave soon enough. You may be able to put turbines up behind our home,
but that doesn't mean I am going to do nothing when it affects my family's
health and my animals' well-being."
-- Property owner in Wisconsin, abandoned home in September, 2009
The above quote is from a book, Wind Turbine Syndrome,
by Dr. Nina Pierpont, published in fall 2009, including ten in-depth medical
case studies of families living between one-half and one mile of a wind
turbine who began experiencing health issues at the same time the turbines
were installed. Before the study ended, eight of the ten families left their
homes. For more about this book, her impressive credentials, reviews
by medical experts, and her findings:
The Acoustic Ecology Institute
Special Report, Nov. 2009: "Wind Energy Noise Impacts"
"Noise can be a significant issue in
at least some situations when turbines are within about a half mile of
homes, with some impacts apparent up to a mile away. Some
acousticians and health professional are encouraging setbacks of as much
as 1.5 miles...It appears to AEI that a half-mile (2600 feet/800m)
setback is appropriate if the goal is to minimize impacts on residents,
with a one-mile (1.5 km) setback offering near assurance of avoiding
the Acoustic Ecology Institute Special Report, November, 2009.
Link to full report below:
The report details the effects of noise
and low-frequency (inaudible) vibrations on human health, and relates
these findings to safe setback distances. It discusses the
dangers of allowing 1000 foot setbacks, and identifies many reputable
sources (including the World Health Organization and other scientific
groups from around the world) who recommend minimum setbacks of 1/2 mile
Other Personal Stories
personal stories of health effects caused by living close to a wind
Negative Health Effects
Article: "Are Wind Turbine Farms
Making People Sick? Some Say Yes" (a balanced article
exploring both sides of the issue).
The World Health Organization
184 page Report, 2009
The Health Effects of Night Time Noise
* Found that at outside
average sound levels greater than 40db, "Adverse health effects are
observed," and "many people have to adapt their lives to cope with the noise
at night. Vulnerable groups are more severely affected."
* Notes that
only below 30db are "no significant biological effects observed."
(Wind industry claims that at
1000 feet, sound levels are approximately 45db, although a great deal of the
literature is devoted to study of the effect of inaudible low-frequency
vibrations in addition to sound in the audible range.)
European Setback Standards
French National Academy of Medicine
has called for a halt of all large-scale wind development within 1.5
kilometers (roughly 4921 feet) of any residence, and the
U.K. Noise Association
recommends a 1km (3281 feet) separation
(From the Acoustic Ecology Institute Special
Report, November, 2009.)
"Simple Guidelines for Siting Wind Turbines to Avoid Health Risks"
Written by two sound
engineers, George Kamperman & Richard James, both certified by the Institute
of Noise Control Engineering, analyze the frequencies and types of wind
turbine sounds that appear to be linked with health complaints, offer safe
guidelines (by decibels instead of distance), and propose a standard means
of measurement for enforcement purposes.
How close is too
While a slowly
rotating windmill might look like a peaceful sight
from a distance, scientists are continuing to study the negative health effects of living
too close to a wind turbine as a result of constant
noise-related sleep deprivation, low-level vibrations, and other factors.
While it is true that the effects are still being
studied, it is also true that it would be reckless
with the health of citizens to assume at this early
point in the study that there is no cause for
representatives in the wind industry claim that
there is no proven health risk associated with
living near a wind turbine, and short setbacks hold
down associated costs for the company. The
Adams County Board approved a 1320 foot setback from homes and
schools; or a 1.10 times turbine height setback for
leaseholders or non-participants who waive the
1320 foot requirement.
it appears that some percentage of the
population may suffer from negative health issues as a
result of living too close to wind turbines, many reputable
scientists recommend that until we know differently,
wind turbines should not be placed within a
half-mile (2640 feet) of a home, school, or
business; others conclude that even greater
distances are required to protect the public safety.
There are more than 30 additional articles
recommending longer setbacks listed on the
Better Plan, Wisconsin website.