The cause of his near-fatal mistake, Cool insists, was the 40-story wind turbine a third of a mile behind his home in Falmouth, Massachusetts. For two years, he had been suffering from insomnia and headaches, which left him fatigued, distracted, and stressed out. It wasn’t the turbine’s noise that woke him or made his head hurt; he believes some intangible mechanism was at work, an invisible and inaudible wind turbulence. And it was all he could talk about.
“Everybody at work was like, ‘Ah, jeez’—ya know, every time I walk in, ‘Cool is talking about wind turbines,’ ” he says. “So it had pretty much captured my life.”
A 55-year-old former Navy man, Cool says his annual flight physicals, which include an EKG and a vision test, have always shown him to be “healthy as a horse.” But he started getting mysterious headaches in April 2010, almost two weeks after the turbine was turned on behind the sprawling Colonial he shares with his wife, Annie, who began battling sleep loss around the same time. He was out tending his garden when his ears started popping as though he were gaining altitude in an airplane. That turned into head congestion, which became a relentlessly painful pressure behind his ears, at the base of his head. “Not like put-your-finger-in-a-socket pain, just a dull constant,” he says. The headache didn’t go away until he left home four hours later on an errand.
Cool has collected data about when the headaches are the worse. Many people are complaining about sleep loss. This piece examines infrasound as a possible harmful side effect. But there are a litany of supposed troubles and suggested causes of wind turbine syndrome.
This piece has quite the list – wind turbine syndrome | DeSmogBlog.
According to a list compiled by Simon Chapman, the University of Sydney’s Professor of Public Health and much-awarded enemy of the tobacco industry, wind farms have been blamed for more than 180 different symptoms including weak bladders, cancers, weight gain, weight loss, herpes, kidney damage and, in one case, a woman having not one, but five menstrual periods in a single month.
Apparently, wind farms also cause chickens to be hatched with crossed beaks (and eggs being laid without yolks), cats to produce small litters, horses to get club feet and crickets to disappear.
The Australian government looked into the claims in 2010 and issued a report that concluded noise, low frequency sound and infrasound, shadow flicker, blade glint and electromagnetic radiation from the turbines were not causing health effects.
Anti-wind-farm activists don’t like when that is the conclusion. But it is what it is.
It also has to do with psychology of people who hate the look and idea of wind farms and are convinced that they are problematic.
So, this is a difficult problem, multi-faceted. In the end, there is no good answer but we may be dealing with a variety of factors that potentially make a few people sensitive to wind turbines. Is it environmental, physiological, psychological? Science so far says the evidence is not showing that this is a health issue.
Addition: (18-Sept-2013) It appears that money changes everything.
People who host wind turbines on their properties and derive rental income from wind energy companies have important stories to tell about living alongside turbines, but they’ve largely been absent from the debate on wind farms and health. Australian filmmaker and researcher Neil Barrett is finally giving this critical group a voice in his new short film, The way the wind blows, released today.
All of Barrett’s interviewees say they can hear the turbines but none say they are bothered by them or suffer from any health problems they attribute to the turbines. If there is such a phenomenon as “wind turbine syndrome” it would seem it is a condition that, remarkably, can be prevented by the wonder drug called money.