Category Archives: Health

Update on Shirley

I’ve mentioned the Shirley wind project in an earlier posting, and it has been in the news again.  There have been a lot of complaints from the neighbors and the local health board declared it a public health problem.  The Brown County Health Director, one Chua Xiong, subsequently declared that the project was not a public health issue, and then resigned.  One has to wonder how she came to that conclusion, and what pressure may have been placed upon her.  Especially since the noise from the project affected her personally.

Anyway, the Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy published a document “to expose the illegitimacy of Chua Xiong’s decision. ”  They requested that I post it and I am more than willing to do so.  One simply has to wonder just how deep the rot surrounding wind energy goes.


Link to the original document

Link to my copy

The Rapley Letter

Dr Bruce Rapley has been researching the effects of acoustical energy on humans for 15 years and has made first-hand observations of those effects.  He’s been following the Australian/New Zealand wind turbine noise controversy for some time.  In 2011 he was a co-author of a paper on the problems of measuring wind turbine noise, submitted to the Australian Acoustical Society.

On March 18, 2014, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) released a position paper on wind turbines, noise and health effects.  In essence, it said that there is no evidence that the noise from wind turbines causes any health impacts, and that whatever health effects exist do so only because of  “misinformation” from people like me.

It took Rapley just 10 days to respond in an open letter that went through the AMA’s position paper on a sentence-by-sentence basis and eviscerated all but one of those sentences.  Rapley’s letter is 9 pages long and very readable.  If you want a concise series of replies to the wind industry’s talking points (which have seemingly been adopted whole hog by the AMA) then this is an excellent reference.


Rapley, Letter to the Australian Medical Association.

AMA, Position Paper (backup link).

Rapley et al, Environmental Noise: Better Measures and Reporting Needed, 2011 Paper for the Australian Acoustical Society


Stressed Geese

Several days ago Ontario Wind Resistance posted a study from Poland on the effects of raising geese close to a wind turbine.  Their posting included several quotes from the study, which indicated the nearby geese suffered from both elevated cortisol levels and less-rapid weight gain.  I was intrigued enough to take a closer look.  The OWR posting and the excepts didn’t really do justice to what the Polish researchers found.  While the study is properly cautious with its conclusions, the data itself shows the extent of the problem. Continue reading Stressed Geese


I don’t watch much TV, but recently while on vacation (in Hawaii!!!) I finished my latest read (Conn Iggulden’s “Conqueror”, which I recommend along with the entire series, for those who like historical fiction) and having nothing better to do (it was raining) I succumbed.  “Frontline” was on, and it was a repeat of their October 8, 2013 broadcast of “League of Denial”.  It is a 2-hour documentary about how the National Football League (the NFL) tried to hide the health impacts that players suffered from repeated blows to their heads.  As I watched I couldn’t help but reflect on the similarities between the NFL’s actions and motivations and the wind industry’s.  Downright spooky, in fact. Continue reading Frontline

Waterloo and Nissenbaum

Several years ago the Province of Ontario, under significant pressure, gave some money to the University of Waterloo to study the health impacts of wind turbines.  Incidentally, the federal government of Canada is also undertaking a health study, which is in addition to this one.  Regardless, for several years we’ve not heard much from the Waterloo study.  Recently, at a symposium in Toronto on October 17 the Waterloo team presented some of their preliminary findings  (clearer link) To anyone paying attention their findings should not come as a surprise – proximity to wind turbines is bad for your health. Continue reading Waterloo and Nissenbaum

Cullerin and Chapman


The Cullerin wind project is located in NSW, Australia, about 60 km NE of Canberra and 200 km SW of Sydney.  At first glance it isn’t particularly remarkable.  There’s 15 2.0 mw turbines, fairly tightly packed on a rise of about 130 m above the surrounding terrain.  The area is sparsely populated, with maybe 50 people living within 5 km (the red line below) of any of its turbines. cullerin

The only reason I’m even mentioning Cullerin is that it has produced a remarkable number of complaints, directly contributing to an audit announced by the NSW government, a slowdown in wind project approvals , some of the strictest noise limits in existence and a bill introduced in the Australian Senate.

One Patina Schneider took it upon herself to run a survey of everyone within (more or less) 10 km of the project.  Her results, published in August of 2012, are telling.  To sum them up:

“73% of all residences out to 5km returned the survey with 85.7% of households indicating
that noise is present at their residence and property during the day and/or night, with 78.5%
of households reporting sleep disturbance from the noise generated by the wind energy

Here’s a timeline:

  • July 2009 – project becomes operational
  • Complaints started immediately
  • February 2012 – audit announced
  • August 2012 – Schneider’s first survey
  • September 2012 – Senate bill introduced
  • November 2012 – audit results released to the developers, NOT to the public
  • August 2013 – Schneider’s follow-up survey published

Schneider’s follow-up survey added questions about whether or not the neighbors had complained to anyone.  It turns out they had, an estimated 322 times, to just about everyone: the developer, their doctors, the local MP’s, the planning department etc.  Certainly the authorities were aware of the problems at Cullerin.  Problems which sadly continue to this day.


OK, so Cullerin’s a mess.  How does Chapman come into this?  In March 2013 he published a study purporting to conclusively demonstrate that the complaints about noise are due to Nocebo effects, and not to the actual noise.  The centerpiece of that study was his Table 1, which showed the almost-complete agreement between noise complaints and anti-wind-activist activity in the area for all 49 wind projects then in Australia.  That table includes Cullerin (thankfully clickable):chapman-cullerinThe columns are: Name/Location/Developer, Size, Date, People Within 5 km, Complaints?, # of Complaints, Local Anti-Wind Activity.  Note the obvious – he has Cullerin listed as having had NO COMPLAINTS!  Maybe he asked the wrong people.  Maybe the people he asked lied to him.  Maybe there was no anti-wind activity there and having complaints would destroy his hypothesis. 

This isn’t the first rending of this study.  I critiqued it shortly after it came out, and additionally it has been thoroughly trashed by others with far more letters after their names than me: Hartman, McMurtry, Punch, Swinbanks, Rosenbloom among others.  A common critique among these is that he made no serious attempt to go out into the field and find out what is actually going on.  The mismatch between the reality of Cullerin and Chapman’s presentation of that reality is the result.

At best an error of this magnitude renders his entire study worthless, at least if you are actually interested in finding truth.  At worst, it shows that Chapman is willing to change the data to fit his agenda.  I’ll let my readers decide.


Hartman and the DEP Again

Some History

In January 2012 the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published their literature review of the health impacts of wind turbines; a large part of that review was based on the 4 studies of Pedersen, Pedersen, van den Berg and Shepherd.  Shortly thereafter, Raymond Hartman published a short and scathing critique about it, which I posted on (but didn’t really critique the review myself).  I subsequently mentioned the DEP review again in part 3 of my critique of Simon Chapman’s “17 Reviews“, where I went into more details about the 4 studies.

Hartman Strikes Again

In June 2013 Hartman released a larger critique of the DEP review, going into more details why he considers the study to be nothing more than junk science.  The main thrust of his critique is that the DEP review went out of its way to misrepresent what those 4 studies actually said.  And I’m being kind with the use of the word “misrepresent”.  Anyone who read those studies and accepted what they actually reported could not have come to the same conclusions the DEP panel did.  This is not a matter of interpretation – no amount of “interpretation” can span what the studies said and what the DEP concluded, unless we’ve gone Through the Looking Glass, or Newspeak has arrived.

The body of Hartman’s critique runs 25 pages, with the remaining 35 pages listing Hartman’s CV.  It is a very readable 25 pages so I urge you to look through it.  His conclusions are listed in table 1 on page 5 and he starts the details in Section III on page 8.  While I’ve previously looked at 4 of the studies the DEP depended so heavily on, his critique includes a 5th (Pedersen and Larsman) that was only briefly mentioned and that I did not include.  He runs through them, producing non-cherry-picked quotes that give the lie to the DEP’s conclusions.  He also is highly critical that the DEP was satisfied with a literature review, when they had every opportunity to go out into the field and practice some real science for a change.

Here’s the bulk of his executive summary on page 1, and everything he says is then backed up in the following sections.

“…I conclude that the purported “independent expert panel” was not independent. It was no more “expert” than scientists whose research was dismissed or marginalized by the Panel. The Panel and its staff conducted no independent primary scientific  research, even though it recognizes how such research should be conducted and it had ample opportunity to sample nearby, highly relevant, Industrial Wind Turbine (IWT) installations in the Commonwealth and in New England. It dismisses or marginalizes a significant body of research conducted by scientists with credentials as good as, or better than, the credentials of the Panel members. Instead, the Panel relies upon a very limited number of research articles and after doing so comes to very strong conclusions. That in itself is questionable scientific practice. More importantly, the Panel misstates the full context of the research upon which it relies.
I conclude, therefore, that the Wind Turbine Health Impact Study conducted by the Independent Expert Panel and presented to the Massachusetts DEP in January 2012 is biased, inaccurate and a fairly transparent mischaracterization of the existing scientific research. It cannot be relied upon to support the contention that IWTs have no impact upon the health and well-being of neighboring residents. The report has little scientific merit.”


Hartman, Critique of the Massachusetts DEP Wind Turbine Health Study


The MOE and Libby

David Libby lives in rural Ontario, unfortunately within 700 metres of a wind turbine.  He complained to the Ontario MOE about the noise and in December of 2011 they dispatched some noise and weather-measuring equipment to his home.  Whenever the noise bothered him, he could press a button and a 10-minute detailed recording period would start.  During the 7+ days the equipment was in place he pressed the button 9 times.  The MOE ran off and after a while dutifully reported back that the operator was substantially in compliance.  Libby released that report to the public back in January 2012, which got a posting on Ontario Wind Resistance.   John Harrison then took a look at it,  and now we can see just how complicit the MOE is in harming people in order to protect this industry. Continue reading The MOE and Libby

Chapman’s Nocebo Study

Simon Chapman, a public-health professor in Australia, has long maintained that the health and annoyance issues from wind turbines that people complain about are the result of nocebo.  Recently he published a study that purports to conclusively demonstrate that those health complaints are not caused by the wind turbines; rather they are caused by anti-wind activists (presumably like me) instilling these ideas into people by our writings.

In an effort to give his study the fairest shake I could, I haven’t read it yet.  Instead, I’m going to put myself in his position and think about what kind of study I’d have to do to and what it would have to show.  After that exercise I’ll be looking through his paper to see if it in fact shows the things it needs to show to confirm his assertions.  Continue reading Chapman’s Nocebo Study

Heath Gets It

The town of Heath, Massachusetts, like many other town faced with wind turbine projects, formed a committee to study the issue.  Their final report is a very accurate  and very readable compilation of the issues surrounding wind energy.  Hats off to the members who took the time to do the research and had the strength to do it honestly.

Heath, Final Report, text

Heath, Final Report, full

Unfortunately, the Town of Heath hasn’t posted the report on its web site, so there’s no link to the original.  In the meantime, the town has proposed a bylaw that outright bans wind turbines within the town.  UPDATE, February 27, 2013 – Heath voters unanimously passed the ban.

Shirley and Infrasound

The wind energy industry has a long list of “studies” (i.e. Chapman’s 17) that they claim “proves” that wind turbines present no health issues for nearby residents.  One of my strongest criticisms of all of these studies is that nowhere in them has anyone ever gone to a victim’s home and actually measured what was going on in there.  There’s good reasons why they don’t. Continue reading Shirley and Infrasound

Revisiting the Ontario Health Review

In May 2009 Dr. Arlene King, the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, released a review that has subsequently been used by the wind industry to “prove” that wind turbines are safe.  The King report was one of Chapman’s 17 reviews and it has been cited repeatedly by developers, especially in Ontario.  It is by any standard a real disservice to the health of rural Ontarians in the path of wind energy developments.  I’ve posted on it previously as has the Society for Wind Vigilance.

The money sentence is “The review concludes that while some people living near wind turbines report symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and sleep disturbance, the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.”  Note the “direct causal” language.  You’d think a Ministry of Health would be concerned about all health issues, not just those that were direct and causal.  Apparently not in Ontario. Continue reading Revisiting the Ontario Health Review

The Nissenbaum Study

Chapman’s “17 Reviews” gave me a chance to look again at the Pedersen, Pedersen and van den Berg studies, along with looking for the first time at the Shepherd study.  Until recently these were the only peer-reviewed journal-published studies that looked at the health effects of wind turbines.  More recently the Nissenbaum study was finally published and thus becomes the 5th such study.  I figured I was on a roll so might as well make it complete. Continue reading The Nissenbaum Study

17 Health Studies (3 of 3)

This is part 3 of my series on Chapman’s 17 health reviews.  In this part I’ll take a closer look at the main underlying studies that his reviews use to establish their points.

Part 1                         Part 2

Chapman’s most recently-published review (Massachusetts) correctly lists just 4 peer-reviewed journal-published studies (actual studies, as opposed to a review) on wind turbines and health (a fifth, Nissembaum, was published later).  Yep, just 4.  They are:

  1. Pedersen 2004
  2. Pedersen 2007
  3. van den Berg 2008 (or Pedersen 2009, same study)
  4. Shepherd 2011

Of the 17 reviews most of them at least refer to either 3 or 4 of these studies (depending on when the review was written) and a number of the 17 reviews use these studies as their central resource.  If anyone is going to write about wind turbines and health it is almost inevitable that these studies get referenced.  In short, they are central to the industry’s claims that wind turbines are not a health concern.  Given their importance part 3 of this series will take a closer look at them. Continue reading 17 Health Studies (3 of 3)

17 Health Studies (2 of 3)

In part 1 of this series I introduced the reviews and listed them along with links.  In this part I will delve a little deeper into the reviews, ending with a paragraph summarizing each one.

Part 1                     Part 3

As a summary, here is a clickable chart of the 17 reviews and how I “rated” them on several criteria: Continue reading 17 Health Studies (2 of 3)

17 Health Studies (1 of 3)

Several months ago I started noticing references among wind energy proponents to 17 reviews of the evidence relating to health effects, all of which concluded there were no problems.  The 17 reviews apparently originated with Simon Chapman, a professor in Australia.   Initially I didn’t pay much attention to them – proponents are always claiming to have a mass of evidence that shows that wind turbines are safe, which is always contraindicated by actual neighbors.  But when I saw that OSEA (the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association) mentioned the 17 reviews in a formal submission to Health Canada I thought I ought to take a look at them.   To go through all 17 takes longer than one post, so I’ve split this one into 3 parts: (a) an overview and listing of the 17, (b) more detail on the 17, and (c) a look at their underlying source material.

Part 2                     Part 3

I cannot image anyone reading through all 3 parts, but I wanted to make sure I gave the 17 every chance to show me that wind turbines are not a health hazard.  In this, they failed.  I came away with 3 major conclusions:

  1. the jury is still out on health impacts (but the jury is filing in);
  2. turbines disrupt sleep and create annoyance (enough to become a health issue);
  3. Chapman is a skilled cherry picker.

Continue reading 17 Health Studies (1 of 3)

No Consensus in NZ

New Zealand, like many countries around the world, has been encouraging the installation of wind energy projects.  Unfortunately, also like many countries, the residents who end up living next to these projects have been complaining about the noise, after having been assured that it would be minimal.  NZ has noise regulations that predate wind projects, but like many countries they have developed special noise regulations uniquely customized for the wind industry –  something called NZS 6808.   The previous version of this Standard (1998) didn’t protect the neighbors – there were hundreds of complains while the developer could plausibly claim to be following the standards.  So they formed a committee and came up with 6808:2010.  One person on that committee, Philip Dickinson, refused to agree to the new standard and went public about his reasons. Continue reading No Consensus in NZ

Coal Reductions and Health

William Palmer continues to gather facts about Ontario’s electrical grid and the uselessness of wind energy in it.  This is very much unlike Ontario’s government and any number of ENGO’s, who simply repeat their slogans over and over until enough voters believe them to keep them in power.  This time he has put together two charts and a longer paper showing Ontario’s generation mix for the last quarter-century and they pretty much put to rest two of these pervasive slogans: (1) that wind energy is eliminating coal generation, and (2) that coal generation is related to asthma and respiratory deaths.

UPDATE – Feb 29, 2012.  Palmer has also started a series at MasterResource that expands upon this topic. Part two.

Continue reading Coal Reductions and Health

The Mass. DEP Report

As my long-time readers (hi, Mom!) know, I’ve critiqued what seems an endless series of “health studies”  from “experts” that claim wind turbines have no health effects on the neighbors.  That list now includes:

Colby (2008) aka Chatham-Kent

AWEA-CanWEA Expert Review, aka Colby (2010)

Maine’s Neuro-Acoustical Issues paper, aka Mills (2009)

Ontario’s Potential Health Impacts of Wind Turbines, aka King (2010)

Australia’s Rapid Review, aka NHMRC (2010)

The latest in the series is Massachusetts’ Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel, published in January 2012.  I originally wasn’t going to post anything about it.  First off, it wasn’t a study – it was a literature review, just like all the other “studies” mentioned. And why waste my time on the same-old same-old?

God knows there’s enough victims in New England (starting with Falmouth) that they could have gone out into the field and practiced some science for a change, but I suspect they were afraid of what they might find.  So they Googled around, found PedersenPedersen and van den Berg and one new entrant, Shepherd.  They found fault with everything and went home declaring there was nothing there.  Which made their boss, Governor Patrick, very happy.

Enter one Raymond Hartman, whose resume looks pretty serious.  He took a look at the Impact Study and came away with much the same impression that a lot of us who have been studying this stuff for a long time did.  In short, it was Junk Science, just like all the others in this series.  He published a summary of its faults, which I’ve converted to a pdf and reformatted a little to make it more readable.  It is a series of points, easily read in a few minutes.  I’d urge everyone to take a look at it.

Hartman, Junk Science


Brian McPherson was a resident of Cape Cod who was distressed at how miserable the residents close to the Falmouth, MA wind turbines were, due to noise.  So he hired Robert Rand and Steven Ambrose to measure inside one of the problem homes to see if they could establish what the problem was.  They were perhaps more successful than they wanted to be.  In short as they watched the levels of infrasound from the turbines increase with the wind, they became ill themselves.  Perhaps even more powerfully, the levels at which they became ill corresponded nicely with the projections previously published by Alec Salt.

This study was too important for a short posting, so I created a 9-page pdf with details on the work of both Salt et al and Rand et al, along with charts and some amount of discussion.

Link to my critique of the McPherson Study.