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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No evidence of health impacts from wind energy

From a column by Robert J. McCunney, Robert Dobie and David M. Lipscomb in The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon:

While opponents of wind energy have attempted to use self-published reports to block projects, the science is clear. Independent studies conducted around the world consistently find that wind farms have no direct impact on physical health. In fact, with no air or water pollution emissions, wind energy is essential to reducing public health impacts from the energy sector.

A minority of residents living near wind projects may sometimes find the turbine sounds annoying and the same is true with any environmental sound. Annoyance is a subjective effect that varies among people and circumstances. Many residents in Oregon and across the United States find wind turbines to be a non-intrusive neighbor.

In 2009, we participated in an international multidisciplinary scientific advisory panel to review current literature on the perceived health effects of wind turbines. The panel found no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects. It is important to note that while this effort was funded by the American and Canadian Wind Energy Associations, we are independent scientists who had no involvement with the wind industry prior to this engagement.

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council also conducted peer-reviewed research on the issue: Its findings: "There is currently no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects."

Robert J. McCunney is a research scientist in occupational and environmental medicine at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Biological Engineering. Robert Dobie is a clinical professor of otolaryngology at both the University of Texas-San Antonio and the University of California, Davis. David M. Lipscomb is president of Correct Service Inc. in Stanwood, Wash.

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