Despite science, wind energy sound sparks discussion in Wisconsin

The topic of wind turbines sound and human health came up again this week in Wisconsin, with the Green Bay Press Gazette and a few other news outlets carrying stories about turbines in the Glenmore area and a discussion by the Brown County Human Services Committee of their health effects.

Let’s briefly review the bidding:

The credible peer-reviewed science, and various government reports in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K. refute the claim that wind farm plants cause negative health impacts.

Most recently, earlier this month wind energy got a clean bill of health from a panel of independent experts established by the Massachusetts departments of Environmental Protection and of Public Health. The agencies definitively stated that “There is no evidence for a set of health effects, from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterized as a "’Wind Turbine Syndrome.’"

The detailed analysis also noted that “the strongest epidemiological study suggests that there is not an association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health problems.” More specifically, “available evidence shows that the infrasound levels near wind turbines cannot impact the vestibular [inner ear] system.”

An abundance of information on the various government and private reports that have come to similar or identical conclusions can be found in the articles below and the links they provide. But the important thing to remember is this: because wind power displaces emissions of air pollutants and toxic materials like mercury, its effect on public health is strongly positive.

Tom Gray,