2012-05-31 / Letters to the Editor

Pierpont’s wind turbine syndrome a ‘scare tactic’

I hope your readers seek a second opinion before believing the diagnosis that wind turbines are bad for your health, as highlighted in the May 17 letter titled “There is evidence that turbine syndrome exists.”

Despite widely propagated misinformation regarding wind power’s effects on human health, rigorous studies by Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, and the departments of health and of environmental protection in Massachusetts have all failed to discover any link between wind farms and adverse health effects. Key findings from Massachusetts include:

• There is no evidence for a set of health effects from exposure to wind turbines that can be characterized as “wind turbine syndrome.”

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

The study from pediatrician Nina Pierpont claiming to show evidence for a phenomenon she calls wind turbine syndrome is not based on sound science. Numerous health experts have disputed the premise of Pierpont’s theory. Pierpont never examined her subjects – she simply interviewed them over the phone. Her work was never properly peer reviewed. She picked a handful of people to look over her report and then published some of their responses. This certainly does not amount to the rigorous review process that creditable experts use.

Much of the wind turbine syndrome literature is, in fact, supplied by anti-wind activists. The Canadian Wind Energy Association commissioned a report on several of these studies, including the information from the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society. According to the findings, as compiled by Intrinsik Environmental Sciences, of Ottawa, Canada, “The primary authors of the articles are either board of director members or scientific advisors for the Society for Wind Vigilance,” an anti-wind advocacy group based in Ontario. Those authors did not disclose their connection with that anti-wind group in the publication that printed the articles.

Despite the solid scientific studies from numerous departments of health, wind turbine syndrome scare tactics live on. But, the fact remains that the combined benefits of wind energy – no pollution or water usage associated with energy production, zero carbon emissions – all serve to make wind power far more friendly to human health than other more traditional forms of energy production.

Sincerely, Christopher Long Manager Offshore wind and siting policy American Wind Energy Association Washington, D.C.

Return to top