Wind turbine noise poses no health risks: study

The sound from wind turbines has no negative impact on people, says a worldwide, peer reviewed review of literature on the health effects of wind turbines.

The American and Canadian Wind Energy Association established a panel to review the current literature after concerns about sound from wind turbines and their adverse health consequences.

The panel of scientists, audiologists, public health officials and environmental medicine experts made several conclusions:

  • Sound from wind turbines does not pose a risk of hearing loss or any other adverse health effect in humans.
  • Sub-audible, low frequency sound and infrasound from wind turbines do not present a risk to human health.
  • Some people may be annoyed at the presence of sound from wind turbines. Annoyance is not a pathological entity.
  • A major cause of concern about wind turbine sound is its fluctuating nature. Some may find this sound annoying, a reaction that depends primarily on personal characteristics as opposed to the intensity of the sound level.

By the end of 2008, there were 120,800 megawatts of wind energy capacity around the world. Countries have turned to wind energy as a key strategy to generate power in an environmentally clean manner. Wind energy has considerable public support, but its detractors have concerns about the noise from the turbines.

The report just released said its objective was to study the literature and develop an authoritative document that governments and regulators could use to make sense of the conflict.

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