“The wind industry has denied and ignored evidence directly linking wind turbines and sleep disruption leading to negative human and animal impacts worldwide. Expect WHO’s new Guidelines to give rise to new standards to mitigate if not eliminate this ongoing suffering.”
“The burden of environmental noise with wind turbines is not episodic or random: for the most part its effects are constant and unrelenting…. This is an undeniable health pressure of enormous magnitude.”
Abstract: While only “conditional,” acknowledgement is given to pulsation (impulsive amplitude modification, as Mr. Steven Cooper calls it) and ILFN (Infra and Low Frequency Noise), the new World Health Organization report underscores the failure of current regulations of dB to manage health impacts from industrial wind installations worldwide.
The other irrefutable conclusion is that the wind industry has been given a regulatory path to profits with an unfathomable license to hurt in the form of sleep deprivation (and associated disease) for a very long time. Master Resource reported earlier on the findings of the Australian Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines (June 29, 2015). This court established that there is a direct pathway to disease resulting from wind turbine noise.
For years, a host of professionals and interested parties have asked World Health Organization to include wind turbine noise in its Guidelines. For the first time, WHO has announced guidelines for wind turbine ‘noise.’
While issued only for the European Region (with data compiled from various continents), worldwide industry, governments, and interested and impacted people will all take note. (Key people in the presentation of copious and reputable information to the WHO for years, have been Christine Metcalfe of the UK, and Dr. Sarah Laurie of AU.)
This Guideline recognizes that the “noise” is more than ‘annoyance’ (and “annoyance” is of lesser concern than sleep deprivation)–and that chronic noise contributes to cardiovascular disease; lack of sleep, hearing loss, tinnitus and stress; and increased changes in blood pressure and heart health. These, of course, are well known impacts to communities and professionals worldwide. These negative impacts have, however, been slow to be recognized at levels such as the WHO.
The impacts recognized by the WHO Guidelines are likely to cause some concern for the wind industry that has chronically, methodically, and systemically, over a long period of time, blocked the flow of information, denying, obfuscating, and blaming helpless victims for “poor coping skills.”
Analyses of the WHO findings are happening around the world, with some looking to the anticipated mass of class action lawsuits, and others more cautiously examining the omissions, and overly cautious, and even erroneous WHO findings, which conclude that there is insufficient evidence to provide night time wind turbine noise guidelines.
Also, but only gently underscored, not highlighted in the Wind Turbine Noise Guidelines, are the now obvious and historically reported impacts of ILFN, shadow flicker, vibration, pressure pulsation…
Compared to previous WHO guidelines on noise, this version contains five significant developments:
- stronger evidence of the cardiovascular and metabolic effects of environmental noise;
- inclusion of new noise sources, namely wind turbine noise and leisure noise, in addition to noise from transportation (aircraft, rail and road traffic);
- use of a standardized approach to assess the evidence;
- a systematic review of evidence, defining the relationship between noise exposure and risk of adverse health outcomes;
- use of long-term average noise exposure indicators to better predict adverse health outcomes.
The executive summary can be found here:
For average noise exposure (WIND TURBINES), the GDG (Guideline Development Group) conditionally recommends reducing noise levels produced by wind turbines below 45 dB Lden, as wind turbine noise above this level is associated with adverse health effects.
…How loud is too loud? WHO asks:
The WHO guidelines for community noise recommend less than 30 A-weighted decibels (dB(A)) in bedrooms during the night for a sleep of good quality and less than 35 dB(A) in classrooms to allow good teaching and learning conditions.
The WHO guidelines for night noise recommend less than 40 dB(A) of annual average (Lnight) outside of bedrooms to prevent adverse health effects from night noise.
…The burden of environmental noise with wind turbines is not episodic or random: for the most part its effects are constant and unrelenting (nothing like an occasional aircraft over the house, nor the 70 plus dB experienced at a concert for a few hours). This is an undeniable health pressure of enormous magnitude.
As the WHO prescribes various adjustments or mitigation, say, for road traffic (choice of tires, road surface, lowering traffic flow, different adjustments to road tunnels, insulation, etc.), it acknowledges that it does not have the ability or facts to recommend mitigation for the burden of wind turbine noise. However, to so many now studied persons about noise and night time sleep disruptions, the remediation is fairly obvious.
This particular burden, wind turbine noise, one unto itself in terms of environmental noise, unique in noise dynamics, heard, and felt sound pulsations/pressures, deserves a full-blown international guideline/regulation on all the sound “assets” of the machine.
While the WHO acknowledges finally after many years that health effects can be reduced from industrial wind, and “conditionally” recommends that “policymakers implement suitable measures to reduce noise exposure from wind turbines in the population exposed to levels above the guideline values for average noise exposure,” its recommendations are disappointingly scant or non-existent on three very important impacts:
- pressure pulsation and ILFN, and vibration.
- acknowledgement and recommendations of the tens of thousands or even millions of persons worldwide, many children and elderly, who have registered complaints of seriously disrupted sleep. These are anecdotal and recorded in numerous papers and findings. Missing completely is the seriously necessary Guideline for Night time noise with wind turbines.
- Impacts reported worldwide to animals, livestock, pets, wildlife. Of every description, wild, domesticated and “husbanded”.
The wind industry has denied and ignored evidence directly linking wind turbines and sleep disruption leading to negative human and animal impacts worldwide. Expect WHO’s new Guidelines to give rise to new standards to mitigate if not eliminate this ongoing suffering.