August 10, 2013

19 reviews of the research literature on wind farms and health

As of 24 May 2013 and today, pro–industrial wind sociologist Simon Chapman has provided his “summary of main conclusions reached in 19 reviews of the research literature on wind farms and health”, increased from its earlier edition of 17 reviews.

As noted previously, he transparently cherry-picks and misinterprets the actual findings of almost all of them. The previous note also discusses now 28 reviews, almost unanimously recognizing the need for more research into the adverse health effects of large wind turbines and the need for adequate setback distances between turbines and homes to avoid such health effects.

Key to Chapman’s misrepresentation on behalf of the wind industry is his characterization of “annoyance”. Chapman would have us understand “annoyance” as nothing more than a mild distraction. Hence, he blames the sufferers of ill health from wind turbines as bringing it on themselves for being annoyed and, not content to get over it, literally making themselves sick. He thus attempts to present a measurable physical disturbance with documented physical effects as mere political grandstanding (classic projection of his own, obviously).

In medicine, however, particularly in the field of public health, Chapman's own playground, “annoyance” means a significant degradation of quality of life. It is not used lightly. It means a real level of external stressors that can cause ill health. Thus, when a review concludes that wind turbines may cause annoyance, which can lead to health effects, that is a direct physical effect, not a product of self-victimization as Chapman insists (and for which he should probably be removed from his position at the University of Sydney School of Public Health).

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, human rights