The World Health Organization defines health as
"a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and
not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
Infrasound, sometimes referred to as low-frequency sound, is sound that is lower in frequency than 20 Hz or cycles per second, the "normal" limit of human hearing. Hearing becomes gradually less sensitive as frequency decreases, so for humans to perceive infrasound, the sound pressure must be sufficiently high. The ear is the primary organ for sensing infrasound, but at higher intensities it is possible to feel infrasound vibrations in various parts of the body .
"More than just audible sound, grinding, whomping, blade pass whooshes, an ever-present hum, industrial wind turbines have a silent, below audible impact. It is not like a day contamination/harm at work where people can go home at night for relief. With industrial wind projects literally engulfing homes and rural areas, there is little or no escape ."
What you can't hear CAN hurt you. It is generally accepted, even by wind developers, that AT LEAST 10% of people experience negative health consequences due to IFLN from Industrial Wind Turbines .
Wind developers will brush IFLN off as no worse than the hum of a refrigerator or furnace in your own home. For some that may be true, but for many, it's not. Prolonged exposure to IFLN can cause sleep disturbances, nausea, headaches, dizziness, stress, cognitive dysfunction, and depression . The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges these possible health consequences and that further in-depth, long-term studies are needed .
The WHO released guidelines in 2018 stating that wind turbine noise should be less than 45 dB in order to be safe, because wind turbine noise above that level is associated with adverse health effects . At the 9/11/19 Town of Barre Board meeting, an Apex representative stated that the Heritage Wind project is designed so that the exterior of the house on neighboring properties will be at or below 45 dB. He failed to acknowledge the fact that the rest of those properties would be ABOVE 45 dB, and in the range that the WHO deems unsafe.
In addition to the above direct health consequences, there are indirect health outcomes that are even more concerning. Wind developers will be the first to state that "wind turbines do not cause disease," as evidenced by the Apex representative at the 9/11/19 town meeting. In an attempt to distract from legitimate concerns and discredit residents who oppose the Heritage Wind project, the Apex representative explained that wind turbines do not cause Lyme disease. People who live in Barre already know that Lyme is transmitted by infected ticks, not Industrial Wind Turbines. He did not address direct effects or indirect health outcomes from Industrial Wind Turbines.
This is an important note: wind developers are not saying that wind turbines do not cause symptoms that lead to more serious indirect health outcomes. They are very intentional to use the word 'disease' but not 'symptom,' 'effect,' or 'consequence.' To be clear, direct health effects can contribute to more serious indirect health outcomes.
Harvard Medical School has cautioned, "In the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality ." Children and teens are even more susceptible to the negative health consequences. A study published in the Journal of The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry explains that there is a strong link between poor sleep and "aggression, delinquent behavior, and attention problems among 7-12 year-old children ." Common sense tells us that a child who does not sleep well will not perform well in school. A long-term study conducted by Duke University reveals that the impact of attention problems in school children is enormous: From lower reading scores and social non-acceptance by peers to lower high school graduation rates . A school district superintendent in Illinois confirms that the negative effects are seen in school children. Read his letter here.
Infrasound at certain dB causes brain activity in the parts of the brain that manage stress, so it's no surprise that prolonged exposure to infrasound leads to stress . A body's physical response to stress may be headaches, nausea, back or stomach pain. People may respond to stress in different ways, including overeating, smoking, drinking, or being unable to sleep. In turn, these contribute to a host of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cancer. The American Heart Association acknowledges that chronic stress may contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure . The American Institute of Stress explains how chronic stress can lead to not only heart disease and high blood pressure, but also to type 2 diabetes, ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome. Stress can even magnify the symptoms of menopause and make it easier to catch or harder to recover from viral illnesses like the flu or the common cold .
Learn more about how stress affects your body from The American Institute of Stress.
Infrasound caused by Industrial Wind Turbines,
a planet e documentary, addresses wind turbine infrasound at minute 14.
Shadow flicker is the effect of the blades of a wind turbine passing across the sun. As the blades rotate, a moving shadow will be cast on the land. It is perceived as "flicker" due to the quick, repetitive nature of the moving shadows.
Shadow flicker is known to cause vision strain and headaches to people who are affected by it. The World Health Organization conducted independent, peer-reviewed research on shadow flicker and concluded that the average risk for depression is increased by a rate of 40% in people who are affected by shadow flicker . Short-term effects of depression include, but are not limited to, a lack of motivation or enthusiasm, feelings of loneliness, and low energy. Long-term effects include chronic fatigue, irregular sleep patterns, weakened immune system, and poor concentration. Depression can have a negative impact on relationships and careers .
The scale of the shadow flicker problem depends on many factors, including height of the wind turbine, direction and speed of the wind, position of the sun, and cloudiness. Proper planning and siting by wind developers can eliminate shadow flicker on neighboring properties, but Apex has not eliminated it from the Heritage Wind project. Any amount of shadow flicker on non-participating properties is unacceptable.
Excerpt from Health Impacts of Industrial Wind, sponsored by NYS Senator Ortt, personal stories of living near Industrial Wind Turbines
"I will call a neighbor and we will just go in our basement and cry together."
We agree with wind developers that the negative health side effects from infrasound and shadow flicker can be eliminated with proper setbacks. However, we disagree with what they deem a proper setback should be. Madison County, Iowa is #2 for Industrial Wind Turbines in the Unites States and their county Board of Health passed a resolution in August 2019 stating that the minimum setback from non-participating residences should be at least 1 1/2 mile. The current Town of Barre wind ordinance states that setbacks in our town must be 1.5x wind turbine tip height, which is no where close to the recommended 1 1/2 miles. For wind turbines 650' - 680' in height, the current property line setback is only 975' - 1,020'. There are 7,920 feet in 1 1/2 mile, so the current Town of Barre setbacks are seriously and dangerously inadequate to protect the health and well-being of our residents. We would be wise to listen to the communities who have actual experience with wind turbines, and should increase our setbacks as Madison County Board of Health recommends.
Say No to Apex Heritage Wind Industrial Wind Turbines in Barre, NY
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Heritage Wind announced at the July 2023 Town Board Meeting plans to change the layout and specs of the project once again! This is not over!
If you are approached to sign anything, please let us know! We are expecting this and want you to be aware.
CSAB will continue to educate and fight against this disastrous project.