none

MILLIONS INVESTED INTO RESEARCH ON WIND TURBINE SICKNESS IN AUSTRALIA

29-03-2016
by 
in 

Researchers have been awarded a grant of $3 million by Australia’s leading medical funding body to investigate the legitimacy of “wind turbine sickness” – a name given to a range of symptoms that are experienced by those living near wind farms.

A move that has been criticised by both the environmental and scientific community as the same body found that ”no direct evidence that exposure to wind farm noise affects physical or mental health".

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) argues that more research needs to be done on the matter.

The hypothesis behind the supposed ailment is that infrasound produced by wind turbines could be causing symptoms such as including dizziness, headaches; sleep disturbances, nausea, and irritability.

However a 1.5-year study by the NHMRC didn't find any links between the condition and proximity to wind turbines.

Although this may seem like extensive research the NHMRC said that the original study contained "limited reliable evidence", and they plan to rectify this by funding two more investigations in the next five years.

Although the need for scientific scrutiny is a positive and something that should be encouraged there have been repeated studies and 19 reviews of the literature that failed to find direct evidence to link this condition with wind farms, it's also not consistently experienced by those living near turbines. 

Many of these cases have been reported in Australia, North America and the UK, but there have been no such cases in places like Germany, Denmark and Spain – all places where wind turbines are a much more frequent occurrence.

Scientists have suggested that these illnesses are psycho-social, rather than physical.

"There is no accepted physiological mechanism where sub-audible infrasound could cause health effects," said Geoffrey Dobb, the Vice President and Chair of the Australian Medical Association's Public Health Committee, back in 2014.

"People living near wind farms who experience adverse health or wellbeing may well do so because of heightened anxiety or negative perceptions about wind farms," he added.

Multiple studies  have also found that people who experience wind turbine sickness were almost always told beforehand that the farms would be detrimental to their health, indicating that their worry about the wind turbines was what was causing them to be ill.

Some are claiming that the money and time that is being spent to verify wind turbine sickness is only a way of slowing down progress.

"Wind farm opponents in parliament will soon have a ready-made excuse to argue for moratoriums on further wind farm development," Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney, told The Conversation.

The NHMRC has however continues to defended its decision by stating that the two newly funded projects will be high quality, and will involve lab work.

"There is a genuine scientific question here that needs to be solved definitively so we can inform both the public and public policy," Ron Grunstein, a sleep expert at the University of Sydney, who was involved with the NHMRC reference group, told the Australian Journal of Pharmacy.

Related news & editorials

  1. 21.05.2018
    21.05.2018
    by      In
    Queensland engineering firm Fibercon is claiming a milestone in recycling, having reused more than 50 tonnes of plastic waste.
    The plastic has been used in the company’s Emesh product, which replaces steel mesh in reinforced concrete. The technology was codeveloped with researchers from Queensland’... Read More
  2. 18.05.2018
    18.05.2018
    by      In
    The latest edition of the Methods technology and solutions e-zine from Mouser Electronics focuses on digital twinning, the latest concept for design and maintenance in Industry 4.0.
    Starting with a forward from digital twinning expert Dr Michael Grieves, Executive Director of the US Center for... Read More
  3. 17.05.2018
    17.05.2018
    by      In
    The Federal Government has released an expanded overview of its 12-year national research infrastructure investment plan, marking the “next step of the innovation and science agenda”.
    The plan, prepared jointly by Education and Industry departments, will “provide Australian researchers with access... Read More
  4. 17.05.2018
    17.05.2018
    by      In
    Victoria’s Marand has grown its customer base, securing a partnership with Rolls-Royce for construction of the MT30 gas turbine for the SEA 5000 Future Frigate project.
    Under the agreement, Marand will work with Rolls-Royce on design development, manufacture and integration of the specialised... Read More