Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Industry Funded Health Study - article

December 16, 2009, 8:43 am — Updated: 9:01 am -->
Study: No Health Impact From Turbines
Reuters A review financed by the wind industry found that while turbines may annoy some people who live near them, they do not directly affect their health.
A detailed literature review published on Tuesday by the American and Canadian wind industry associations found no medical basis for the health complaints that often arise near large wind-farm projects.
But the 85-page industry-financed study is unlikely to settle the persistent question of whether those who live near turbines are indeed susceptible to so-called “wind turbine syndrome.”
Written by a seven-member panel representing experts from a range of technical disciplines, the report concluded that there is no evidence that audible or “sub-audible” turbine sounds and vibrations have physiological effects.
The authors did, however, concede that some people are irritated by turbine swishing noises, especially in the absence of other ambient sound:
An annoyance factor to wind turbine sounds undoubtedly exists, to which there is a great deal of individual variability. Stress has multiple causes and is additive. Associated stress from annoyance, exacerbated by the rhetoric, fears, and negative publicity generated by the wind turbine controversy, may contribute to the reported symptoms described by some people living near rural wind turbines.
“People’s attitudes towards wind turbines have a lot to do with whether they reported annoyance,” said Robert McCunney, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who also studies hearing loss and practices medicine at Massachusetts General. He was on the panel that put the study together.
Dr. McCunney stressed that the group came to its own conclusions. “We had almost total independence doing this paper.”
Some wind-turbine critics quickly rejected the study as biased. “The panel was picked and paid for by the wind industry,” said Robert McMurtry, a orthopedic surgeon from London, Ontario, who has reviewed wind-health studies and belongs to a group fighting wind farms in eastern Ontario. “I’m not sure why it would be given credibility.”
Dr. McMurtry argued that only an “authoritative epidemiological and clinical study” can resolve the impasse. He noted that the Japanese government, facing its own complaints about wind farms, recently commissioned such an investigation, which is expected to last for four years.
The panel members debated the question of whether to recommend such a study, according to Dr. McCunney, but ultimately decided against it because they felt there wasn’t enough clear medical evidence linking health effects to turbine exposure. He added that the group intends to submit their report to a peer-reviewed scientific journal for future publication.
The report’s release came not long after a British paper, The Telegraph, reported that bureaucrats overseeing wind farm approvals in that country had secretly removed recommendations from a consultant’s report suggesting that operators lower nighttime noise limits to address public concerns about sleep disruption due to turbine noise.

(An Industry funded study is spun to favour the wind industry)