In certain parts of the world, campaigners against wind farms argue that clusters of giant turbines make nearby residents ill.
Australian researcher Professor Simon Chapman's work in the field asserts that “wind turbine sickness” is a “ psychogenic” disease that only occurs when people are told that wind farms might make them sick.
Now a Canadian study has found that living near wind farms doesn't result in higher incidences of diseases purported to be symptoms of wind turbine sickness.
Conducted by Health Canada, with peer-reviewed methodology published in Noise News International [PDF], the multi-year study's preliminary findings suggest that sleep disorders, dizziness, migraines, heart disease, high blood pressure and other symptoms associated with living in proximity to wind turbines were not reported by those surveyed.
The sample did not include every Canadian community near a wind farm, instead considering 12 in Ontario and half a dozen on Prince Edward Island “representing 315 and 84 wind turbines respectively.”
All homes “within approximately 600 m of a wind turbine were selected” as were “a random selection of homes between 600 m and 10 km.”
The survey did find that residents were annoyed by the noise and flickering caused by wind turbines, but that “Annoyance was significantly lower among the 110 participants who received personal benefit, which could include rent, payments or other indirect benefits of having wind turbines in the area.”
Data on prevalence of illness and annoyance were self-reported, but the researchers also looked for physical evidence of stress among those tested by checking for levels of Cortisol, “a well-establish biomarker of stress”. Cortisol's also useful because it “incorporates into hair as it grows,” so long-haired folks' locks offer a record of their stress levels. This study found no correlation with the arrival of wind turbines.
The full study's here if you think we're full of hot air and believe this article should be blown away.