AWEA statement on Massachusetts study finding that wind turbines pose no health risks

A comprehensive review of public health studies conducted near wind turbines in the United States and Europe was released recently in Massachusetts.

Tom Vinson, Director of Regulatory Affairs for the American Wind Energy Association, commented that, “The independent expert panel established by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, has issued a definitive scientific analysis that refutes the myths perpetuated by opponents of wind energy. As the report ably demonstrates, wind turbines are safe and the health-related claims of project opponents are unsubstantiated.”

Last year, the two state agencies in Massachusetts convened a panel of independent academic experts with backgrounds in public health, epidemiology, toxicology, neurology and sleep medicine, neuroscience, and mechanical engineering to analyze “the biological plausibility or basis for health effects of turbines (noise, vibration, and flicker).” The review of existing studies included both peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed literature.

Among the key findings of the panel are:

– There is no evidence for a set of health effects, from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterized as "Wind Turbine Syndrome."

-Claims that infrasound from wind turbines directly impacts the vestibular system have not been demonstrated scientifically. Available evidence shows that the infrasound levels near wind turbines cannot impact the vestibular system.

– The strongest epidemiological study suggests that there is not an association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health.

– None of the limited epidemiological evidence reviewed suggests an association between noise from wind turbines and pain and stiffness, diabetes, high blood pressure, tinnitus, hearing impairment, cardiovascular disease, and headache/migraine.

– Scientific evidence suggests that shadow flicker does not pose a risk for eliciting seizures as a result of photic stimulation.

The full report of the panel of independent experts can be found here:

Today’s New York Times blog coverage of the report is here:

AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind power industry, with more than 2,500 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and wind farm development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show, the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Atlanta, June 2-6, 2012. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America.