2012-05-03 / Letters to the Editor

Many health problems can arise from turbine

As a long-time Jamestown resident who moved here in 1981, my family and I have enjoyed the rural town atmosphere and the easy access to ocean activities that Jamestown offers. I have worked in the defense industry for most of my career and I have degrees in electrical engineering and ocean engineering. Most recently, I have been supporting the Naval Underwater Systems Center in homeland-defenserelated programs.

I have been observing with interest the on-going debate on whether or not to install a mammoth wind turbine at Taylor Point to provide “free” power to town offices and other town-owned facilities. I am concerned that some important environmental considerations that are being glossed over in the town’s analysis.

There is a health condition called “wind turbine syndrome” that has become more and more prevalent as wind turbines have proliferated. Three independent studies are now underway to determine the severity of the problem: one in the U.S., one in England and one in Australia. They are studying similar physiological symptoms that are being exhibited by people living within a 1.5-mile radius of wind turbines. The symptoms are sleep problems from turbine noise or physical sensations of pulsation or pressure, which make it hard to sleep and cause frequent awakening; headaches, which are increased in frequency or severity; dizziness, unsteadiness and nausea; exhaustion, anxiety, anger, irritability and depression; problems with concentration and learning; and ringing in the ears.

Not everyone living near a wind turbine has these symptoms. People have different levels of sensitivity to the low-frequency vibrations produced by wind turbines. The proportion of people who get symptoms is still being analyzed. What is known for certain is that there is some percentage of people living near a wind turbine who will experience some of these symptoms.

As the results of these studies and analyses become more defi ned, it is easy to predict that the values of homes within a 1.5-mile radius of wind turbines will drop significantly because buyers will not want to take the chance that either they or any of their family members may be susceptible to wind turbine syndrome.

If one takes a map of Jamestown and draws a 1.5-mile radius circle from Taylor Point, one finds that a large percentage of homes on the island will be susceptible to this syndrome. The area that would be affected would include all of the downtown area. Northward it would extend up to Carr Lane and southward to Fort Wetherill.

Also, since much of the island is granite bedrock, the low-frequency vibrations of the wind turbine will travel through the bedrock and affect an even wider area.

Are we, the taxpaying citizens of Jamestown, willing to jeopardize the health of the families living on Connanicut Island, and watch the further decrease of home values for the dubious advantage of having a town-owned wind turbine?

Hugh A. Murphy

Stern Street

Jamestown

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