Monday, July 6, 2009

Wind Power May Be A Health Hazard

Now that the climate bill (H.R. 2454) has passed the House and the U.S. is embarking on the brave new world of dramatic increase in alternative energy production, it may be wise not to repeat the same problems that the pioneers (Europe and Japan) have suffered. Here's one from Japan on wind power. The article appeared in Japan a year ago, along with flurry of reports about health problems caused by the windmills.

Wind power may have its own environmental problems (7/5/09, translation from the article appeared in Japan's Yomiuri Shinbun)

"Shinjuro Kondo, 76, who moved into his Japanese neighborhood 17 years ago, said, "Stiff shoulders, headaches, insomnia, hand tremors... Since February last year, soon after the test operation of windmills started, I developed various kinds of symptoms."

"Kondo's neighborhood is about 350 meters away from a group of windmills. More than 20 percent of about 100 neighbors also complain of similar physical disorders. They said their symptoms become less severe when the windmills stop due to mechanical troubles and other reasons.

"Currently, the relationship between such physical disorders and the windmills is not clear. But infrasonic waves generated by the windmills' rotors is suspected to be the cause. The sound waves oscillate once to 20 times a second, a frequency too low to be heard by human ears."

The article goes on to say there is no research done on the infrasonic noise and human health. Not true at all. There are numerous studies in Europe regarding infrasound and its effect on humans.

What is infrasonic/infrasound? Infrasound is sound that is lower in frequency than 20 cycles per second, the normal limit of human hearing. Hearing becomes gradually less sensitive as frequency decreases, so for humans to perceive infrasound, the sound pressure must be sufficiently high. The ear is the primary organ for sensing infrasound, but at higher levels it is possible to feel infrasound vibrations in various parts of the body. (

You may not hear infrasound by your ears, but the cells in your body may feel it and respond.

One experiment in England where "a team of UK researchers held a mass experiment where they exposed some 700 people to music laced with soft 17 Hz sine waves played at a level described as "near the edge of hearing"" The result? "The presence of the tone resulted in a significant number (22%) of respondents reporting anxiety, uneasiness, extreme sorrow, nervous feelings of revulsion or fear, chills down the spine and feelings of pressure on the chest." (

And here's from an article that appeared in Asahi Shinbun on 1/18/09 (the article is in Japanese):

"Wind power is expected to be the next generation of renewal energy source. However, an increasing number of people living near the power-generating windmills are complaining about headaches, dizziness, insomnia, and other health problems. No definitive study on the cause, but it is agreed that these problems have to do with the sound emitted by the windmills nearby. More and more windmills are being installed closer to homes, which may be exacerbating the problems.

"Tsuyoshi Okawa, 40, and his family started to notice something was wrong in January 2007, immediately after the windmill nearby went into operation. Symptoms include numbness, headache and insomnia. The symptoms are relieved once they are far away from their house (and from the windmill), and come back as soon as they come back home.

"He had the noise level measured at his house. The result: his house was vibrating at a very low frequency (infrasound). He was told that there was no effect on health, but [since his body clearly says otherwise] he rented an apartment so that his family can escape there to get a decent sleep at night."

Once quiet farmland is now literally a nightmare for the residents suffering from insomnia, so that the city folks can claim they are using "clean" energy. All for the sake of preventing "global warming". For those environmentalists who argue it is still worth it, please consider what kind of effect it may be having for wild life. It is not just birds flying into the blades.

After all, very low frequency sound has been used as a deadly weapon.


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