Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

There’s still no evidence that wind farms harm your health

Back in July I wrote an article for the The Conversation arguing that wind turbine syndrome was a classic “communicated” disease: it spreads by being talked about, and is therefore a strong candidate for…

It’s easy to claim “wind turbine syndrome” exists, but where’s the evidence? Snurb

Back in July I wrote an article for the The Conversation arguing that wind turbine syndrome was a classic “communicated” disease: it spreads by being talked about, and is therefore a strong candidate for being defined as a psychogenic condition.

Wind farm opponents repeatedly argue that turbines cause both rapid and long-gestation health problems. At the time the article was published I’d counted 155 health problems that had been attributed to wind farms including cancer, hemorrhoids, weight loss, weight gain and death. The list now stands at 198.

On Sunday, I received an emailed letter of response from Sarah Laurie, Australia’s most prominent proponent of the view that wind turbines cause health problems in people exposed to them. She circulated the letter widely and it ended up on the anti-wind farm action website, WindWatch.

Here is my point-by-point response to Laurie’s claims and questions.


Sarah Laurie says she has obtained information about the health effects of wind turbines from “sick residents”.

My response: the “information” she is obtaining will be un-publishable in any serious research journal because she has no clearance from any institutional human ethics committee to obtain it. Laurie has a lengthy record in making public statements that are likely to cause considerable anxiety and distress about wind farms. Here is an example.

Against this background, any human ethics committee would be greatly concerned about her conducting “research” with such distressed people who are highly likely to know or be told of her views. Actively spreading alarm is likely to contribute to nocebo effects, something she ought to be personally concerned about as a former practicing GP.

Any legitimate researcher doing what she claims to be doing would be dismissed from their research job for engaging in “research” on human subjects without ethics approval.


Laurie points to evidence from Daniel Shepherd and colleagues to show wind turbines are harmful to human health.

My response: Shepherd et al’s paper reported lower sleep quality and a “less restful environment” in a turbine-exposed community in the Makara Valley in New Zealand, than in a matched nearby community without turbines.

Fiona Crichton from the University of Auckland provides the following critique of the paper:

The study was cross-sectional and used a non-equivalent comparison group. The wind farm sample was drawn from 56 houses and the control group from 250 houses. The researchers do not identify how many participants per household were recruited, however the final sample included 39 people in the wind farm group and 158 in the control group. While there were differences detected between the groups in relation to satisfaction with the living environment, critically there were no differences between the groups in terms of self-rated health and current illness.

You can read more of Fiona Crichton’s critique here.


Laurie says the Shepherd et al paper provides “incontrovertible” evidence that wind farms cause sleep problems.

My response: Experienced researchers rarely if ever use expressions such as “incontrovertible” unless there is a massive amount of high quality evidence (which here, there is not).

Fiona Crichton’s critique actually does not go far enough. The paper says nothing about the activities of the Makara Guardians, an anti-wind farm group active in the area since 1997. It is inconceivable that anyone living in that small-populated area could have not been exposed to the anti-wind farm information spread by that group, including alarm about alleged health problems. Such activity is an obvious trigger for nocebo effects. The omission of any mention of this important factor in the paper is a disgrace.


Laurie asks, “Are you prepared to explain why you do not reference the peer reviewed published work of Daniel Shepherd and his colleagues…?”

My response: It is a very poor paper.

But we should all ask why she persistently ignores the conclusions of 17 reviews of the evidence that all reject her views about wind turbines causing health problems, except when she is in denial of what they all conclude. Why does she never tell her enthralled audiences about what these reviews have concluded?


Laurie selectively quotes the acoustician Geoff Leventhall, including claiming he “has known about the symptoms of low frequency noise exposure or ‘wind turbine syndrome’ for some time”.

My response: Laurie knows that Leventhall very much disagrees with her about the health impacts of wind farms. For example, Leventhall wrote:

“I am appalled that Laurie asserts that experimental exposure to high levels of infrasound, around 125dB or higher, is relevant to the low levels of infrasound from wind turbines, although this gross misunderstanding might explain some of her irrelevant and inaccurate statements.”

Why does Laurie persist in quoting an acoustical authority as if they support her when Leventhall has repeatedly clarified his strong rejection of her views?


Laurie claims people affected by wind turbines have been gagged from speaking out about their health problems. She quotes Slater & Gordon’s General Manager as evidence of these gags.

My response: The debate here is about alleged gags: the idea that people who claim to have been made ill cannot speak out because they have signed contracts cancelling their rights under common law to sue for negligence.

The “evidence” Laurie refers to are dispute settlements, not complaints prior to those settlements. It is common for legal settlements about all sorts of issues, not just wind turbines, to contain confidentiality clauses.

The only confidentiality or “gag” clauses refer to financial transactions — standard commercial practice across all sectors. This is understandable, as the companies want to be able to negotiate with hosts on a commercial-in-confidence basis.

While some contracts do appear to have gag clauses, these are likely to be unenforceable in any case where true negligence or harm could be established.


Laurie insinuates that because I am “a sociologist” and not a medical “practitioner” or an acoustician that my views should be dismissed.

My response: It might have escaped Laurie’s attention that there are many people whose claims she quotes authoritatively who also do not have undergraduate degrees in medicine or acoustics.

Nearly all the authors of the collection of anti-wind farm essays in the Bulletin of Science and Technology do not have undergraduate degrees in medicine. Nor does her chairman Peter Mitchell, who studied engineering at university many decades ago. Nor does Daniel Shepherd. I could go on.

Why does Laurie think people should take her seriously as she parades herself as an arbiter of “incontrovertible” research when she:

  • has no qualifications at all in any research discipline,
  • has repeatedly demonstrated (as in her assessment of Shepherd et al’s paper and Leventhall’s comments on her understanding of infrasound) that she has poor understanding of research,
  • has never published a single piece of research on any subject, and
  • for some time used the research degree post-nominal “MD” on the Waubra Foundation’s Australian website (see below) when she does not have a doctoral degree in medicine, but only bachelors qualifications?

Screenshot of Waubra Foundation’s Australian website (13 Oct 2011) before it was changed

Now, some questions for Sarah Laurie:

  1. Will you provide a list of the addresses of all the “many” houses adjacent to wind farms in Australia that you claim people have “walked away from” so that these can be verified (after submitting a proposal to my university’s human ethics committee)? This verification will be sought via neighbours and local real estate agents. (One example often highlighted in Waubra involves the departure of a resident allegedly because of wind turbines when that person was in fact admitted to a long-stay facility for a degenerative condition unrelated to wind turbines.)

  2. Why have there been zero health complaints associated with the large majority of Australian wind farms? Or do “susceptible” people somehow mysteriously only live near a few of them?

  3. If wind turbines cause acute health effects within minutes of exposure, why then has it often taken several years for complaints to be expressed and why have these generally occurred after exposure to anti-wind farm propaganda?

  4. Having appropriated the name of the town of Waubra for your foundation why do you not appear at any of the town’s celebratory events, such as the one held last month? Do you appreciate that there is widespread anger in Waubra about the way your foundation has used the name of the town?

  5. Why is it that two acousticians you rely upon, Steven Cooper and Bob Thorne, are both refusing to release documents for open peer review that have been used to cast doubt upon compliance of wind farms with noise levels?

  6. Why is it that after almost 2.5 years, you have not been able to recruit a single qualified and reputable Australian health or medical identity to publicly support your position?

  7. Why do you persist in publicly describing yourself as a “clinician” when you have not practiced medicine for over 10 years?

  8. Why is it that your organisation’s objectives (enshrined in your constitution) state that you will at all times maintain complete independence from wind farm advocacy groups when your directors are almost all associated with aggressive anti-wind activism? Why does your name appear as a contact on the anti-wind farm site sWINDle when you purport to not be anti-wind farms but only concerned about health issues?

  9. Why does your organisation deserve the indirect government subsidy of DGR (deductible gift recipient) status to pay for its anti-wind activism, including the legal fees of people objecting to wind farm developments?

  10. Why did your Chairman, Peter Mitchell, not explicitly disclose his involvement with fossil fuels and uranium in his statement of interests with the NHMRC? And why does his declaration say that he had involvement with the Australian Landscape Guardians until “mid-2010” when he authored a submission to the Australian Senate for them in February 2011?

  11. With activism about fire risk and property values, an anti-wind farm board, no membership and no serious scientific agenda, how should the public see you as anything other than another anti-wind lobby group?

Your actions are likely to be causing residents near turbines who may have legitimate noise concerns to be confused by outlandish claims of health effects that have near zero credibility. The unfortunate result will most likely delay the rectification of legitimate concerns.

Join the conversation

77 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Mike Barnard

    logged in via Facebook

    It is unfortunate that a handful -- literally -- of people world-wide with equivalently poor medical and research credentials are so vocally against wind farms. They are doing far more harm to people's health than the noise annoyance that a small percentage of people near windfarms experience causes.

    After all, annoying noise can be shut out with close windows or white noise generators, but Sarah Laurie and her handful of anti-wind medical peers actively create stress and fear inside people's minds.

    Like a song you can't get out of your head, Sarah Laurie puts health fears into people's consciousness and then people think themselves into ill-health.

    report
    1. Lisa Pilot

      Manager

      In reply to Mike Barnard

      Yes, in fact there is a public health issue - hysteria caused through well-meaning misinformed individuals who are provoking fear and division across Australia's regional communities.

      report
    2. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Mike Barnard

      Sarah Laurie is fast becoming Australia's answer to Andrew Wakefield and is about as credible.

      She appears to have conveniently forgotten the Hippocratic oath and seems to prefer propaganda over substance and, never mind the lives she affects.

      report
    3. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Yes - there is lots in common between anti-windfarm-ism and anti-vaccinationism, including the conspiracy theories.

      report
  2. Tim Scanlon

    Debunker

    I live near the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere, no complaints.

    I'm always surprised by the claims made by anti-wind farm people, because their complaints always seem to fall into the hysteria diagnosis rather than an actual real problem associated with wind farms. This is surprising because it has been taken seriously, even when decent science shows it to be just hysteria.

    Although I do note an interesting correlation with wind farms. The number of complaints is usually proportional to the amount of money the person is missing out on because the wind farm isn't on their property.

    report
    1. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      It's pretty much the same here Tim. Never underestimate the power of envy. That said it would be nice if the option was provided to local communities to purchase shares in a local windfarm project for community and individual benefit. There are lots of communities who wouldn't mind an annual income to go towards the upkeep of local community assets rather than wait for the occasional handout prior to elections.

      report
    2. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      That would be a good idea.

      The only thing is to make sure that the $$ doesn't cloud judgement on how and where wind farms go. A lot of the legitimate complaints arose because of a lack of adequate planning.

      report
    3. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Financial security is likely to help with headaches and insomnia, too.

      report
    4. Ewen Peel

      Farmer

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Spot on Tim.

      I attended recently a Wind farm information meeting and it was very easy to work out who in line for a generator and who was missing out.
      I was also very disappointed with the misinformation being pushed by anti-wind farm advocates. Sarah Laurie was on the program but ended up not making it for some reason, but don’t worry she has plenty of dedicated supporters who were more than happy to push views similar to hers.

      While our land is part of a possible wind farm development, I really don’t think it will happen on our land because of several factors. That said, the wind farm companies could do a lot more with public relations and not go about dividing rural communities the way they have.

      It appears that there is more spin with a wind farm than just the turbines.

      report
    5. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Ewen Peel

      Ewen, let's not be naive in assuming that one side or the other is not spinning hype.

      The problem with wind developers is that they may or may not divide the community before the project goes up, but once it does, if the project does cause problems, then the blame game starts and people start to tear each other apart anyway.

      We need to examine how the presence of wind turbines changes the perception of people. Frankly, if it wasn't for the ILFN issues and to a lesser degree the EMF issues, I would not have become a hobby time "anti-wind activist", especially when I have been the pro-renewables greeny type since the time I was in high school.

      report
    6. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      "Frankly, if it wasn't for the ILFN issues and to a lesser degree the EMF issues, I would not have become a hobby time "anti-wind activist", especially when I have been the pro-renewables greeny type since the time I was in high school."

      Frankly, I don't get this. INFRA-low frequency sound (ie what we can't perceive) is more dangerous than actual noise? And "EMF issues"? They're greater around wind farms than city infrastructure, traffic and communications towers?

      People used to take a tree change because rural environments are quiet and sparsely populated. If you now get headaches and can't sleep because of noise you can't hear and fields you can't see - what are city people to do?

      report
    7. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, in brief, low frequency sound is known to affect biological processes. I suggest to have a read through the 2001 toxicological summary which I quoted previously. You may also find it interesting that the FDA has assessed and approved infrasound therapies. Don't have the reference handy right at the moment, but if you wish can search for it later.

      I can personally confirm that, yes, when I have measured EMF potentials in homes around wind farms vs urbans areas (using volts per metre) there…

      Read more
    8. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Have you even looked into this properly? It is just plain nonsense. The infra-low frequencies are not travelling with enough energy at more than 50m from the turbines to cause any issues. In fact, put a normal building wall between you and the turbine at 10m and there isn't enough energy (10m figure from memory).

      Another point Sue raised is that these sort of disturbances are actually higher in urban areas anyway, so we should see impacts from living in the city before we see impacts near wind farms.

      report
    9. In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Comment removed by moderator.

    10. Neville Mattick

      Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      You kidding me?

      EMF, now, Electromotive Force at 50 Cycles Per Second, how is the World now exposed to fields such as this going to survive with a hypothesis such as this George - HV power lines, house wiring, cable ducts, underground power, car alternators etc etc - we are all doomed.

      As for INFRA sound, which is revolving around the "politics of envy" that might be eased by CSIRO's suggestion of a SLO (Social Licence to Operate) as we mature about the need to wean our relentless power greed from Minerals to Renewables.

      Yes in the National Interest my Station is under scrutiny for Wind Energy.

      Yes it will disturb my 130 year family tradition.

      Yes my Wife will be displeased about some points of the loss of amenity in a remote and biodiverse landscape.

      BUT - the energy from my property will power homes well beyond the horizon LONG after I am history and that is the legacy some are jealous of.

      report
    11. Ewen Peel

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Yes George there is plenty of spin on both sides.
      Like you, I try to be as sustainable and caring of the environment as possible, and yes I have solar power and hot water and try to have a small carbon shoe.
      Wind farms without the government regulation regarding purchasing of generated power, would probably not ever get past the drawing board.
      The division they create in a community is very unhealthy and it happens well before any construction starts. I know of one planned not far from me and…

      Read more
    12. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Neville Mattick

      Neville I am sorry to say but there is no point discussion this matter with people who automatically resort to ridicule and bigotry...

      All I can say is that I feel very sorry for people who think that their neighbours will feel very envious of them. Frankly I pitty those who have to live with the fact that they are being paid to host machines that are destroying the health of the neighbours.

      report
    13. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      It is a salute, search \m/ for an explanation. I don't see the relevance to the discussion though.

      So, have you actually looked at the physics of infra frequencies and seen that your fears are completely unfounded? Because there are plenty of studies that show the energy levels drop very quickly. Plus the fact that background noise would drown it all out regardless. Low-frequency sound and infrasound are found everywhere and are generated by sources like traffic, fans and the wind: they are “not unique to wind turbines.” Urban areas generate sound levels between 60 and 70 decibels, even a quiet rural areas levels are 40 to 65 dB for low-frequency sound and higher decibel levels of infrasound.

      Just one reference on the issue: http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/technologies/wind/turbinefactsheets/mainColumnParagraphs/0/text_files/file1/06-06Leventhall-Infras-WT-CanAcoustics2.pdf

      report
    14. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      With regards to your quote from Leventhall: “Statements on infrasound from objectors are considered and it is shown how these may have caused avoidable distress to residents near wind turbines and also diverted attention from the main noise source, which is the repeating sound of the blades interacting with the tower. This is the noise which requires attention, both to reduce it and to develop optimum assessment methods”

      If Leventhall could be a little more honest, then yes wind turbines DO produce infrasound when the blade interacts with the tower. That’s why the 1hertz or so figure (and multiples of it) stick out like a sore thumb in the noise monitoring of wind farms. Go to the work down by Steven Cooper at http://docs.wind-watch.org/Cooper-Are-wind-farms-too-close-to-communities.pdf and have a hard look at figure 11.

      report
    15. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      And you've ignored my comments and raised an unrelated point and pretended I've quoted someone I haven't. I added a reference to my post, an actual peer reviewed paper. You just claim the reference is lying, not actually addressing what they found. Then you link to a report that doesn't address the sound sources, just levels of sound.

      I can see you must have a vested interest in this argument, as you are applying a biased framework in your discussion.

      report
    16. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Tim, I'm fast coming to the conclusion that George is nothing more than a simple troll. He clearly cares nothing for evidence, renewable energy, future effects of climate change or the well-being of the global community, his chief interest seems to be red herrings and his tinnitus - along with a couple of other probably confected conditions designed to extract sympathy.

      I suspect most of us have genuine sympathy for those few individuals who are convinced that wind turbines affect their livelihood or health but I for one have no sympathy for those who ignore science and invent conditions that are supposedly caused by unknown, unproven laws of physics. Given that George is happy to be associated with proponents of homoeopathy, I suspect his respect for the scientific method is non-existent. As such, I won't be wasting any further time trying to reason with him. It's a concept he cannot grasp.

      report
    17. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, your comment is another but an insult and reflective of your inability to accept and examine evidence.

      Meanwhile, can you explain why Chapman has been hunting down the WF and Sarah Laurie for any shred of evidence linking either to mining interests?

      Apply that same logic to yourself, a self-professed investor in wind energy, and if you don't like Chapmanian logic then lick your wounds and get over it!

      report
    18. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      The related point is indirectly in the answer I gave you: noise characteristics and tonality. See Figure 11 and appreciate that even at 7km away the ILFN from wind turbines is still easily measured.

      Total noise is one factor to consider and noise quality another. The favourite wind industry figure is the level of ocean beach infrasound. It is exceeds most other human sources but the ocean is a rather attractive place to be isn't it?

      In contrast, trying to live in a rural area and hearing thumps and rumbling noise all night isn't pleasant is it? Especially when it stimulates autonomic responses!

      report
    19. Jason Tame

      Professional Human

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George - what on earth does somebody's small ID picture have to do with this?

      I have found this discussion to be very enlightening up until now - contribute genuinely or leave please.

      report
    20. Jason Tame

      Professional Human

      In reply to Neville Mattick

      Neville, well said - great to see people thinking of the bigger picture.

      report
    21. Neville Mattick

      Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

      In reply to Jason Tame

      Thank you Jason, yes I am very excited to be considered as a part of the solution to the Climate Change response - evidence provided me by Science from all over the World.

      Why we must act is evident as our Biodiversity disappears before our eyes (and here I mean any reader not sure of why we depend on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services should do some serious reading).

      In the example here is 130 years of record keeping and sustainable land use, despite the lack of education that has been the…

      Read more
    22. In reply to Jason Tame

      Comment removed by moderator.

    23. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      But that is a completely irrelevant point because the energy levels are too low to be of any impact. Wind turbines generate far too low a sound pressure of infrasound to cause harm to humans, less than that measured 75 meters from a beach with waves rolling in. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Wind_Turbine_Syndrome

      The attractiveness or not of the location has no impact upon the level of noise. The comparison to the beach is because there is more infranoise generated in the environment than there is from turbines. Hence, this shows that there is false concern about turbines by those who seek to cherry pick and obfuscate the issue.

      report
    24. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Depends on what you call an impact. Have read of this (from Alec Salt's research). There is clearly a physiological response to inaudible levels of infrasound, and good reason to question previous assumptions.

      http://oto2.wustl.edu/cochlea/wind.html

      "You cannot hear the infrasound at the levels generated by wind turbines, but your ears are indeed detecting and responding to it. The picture shows the enormous electrical potentials that infrasounds generate in the ear. The potentials (18.7 mV…

      Read more
  3. Sue Ieraci

    Public hospital clinician

    Simon - is this "syndrome" present outside the anglophone countries?

    report
    1. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      The antis will soon post a link to a website purporting to show that there are 500+ groups in Europe alone. The list has the distinct malodorous smell of astroturfing and made-up groups. Stay tuned n that one. But apart from that, yes. It is a "disease" that mainly speaks English. Hot-beds are Ontario, parts of USA (but not most parts), UK, Ireland , NZ and a few places in Australia populated by or targeted by the antis. Its like all a sociologist's Christmases have come at once.

      report
    2. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Another one to add to recovered memory, gulf war, alien abduction...

      (Here's my conspiracy theory: the sociologists are stirring things up in order to perpetuate their employment.)

      report
    3. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      @Simon, I don't suppose you have forwarded a copy to a certain DLP Sen and Sen Chris Beck?

      report
    4. Monika Merkes

      Honorary Associate, Australian Institute for Primary Care & Ageing at La Trobe University

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Germany produces 28% of global wind farm energy (Spain and USA 15.6% each, India 8.4%). http://www.n-tv.de/wissen/Deutschland-weltweit-fuehrend-article238617.html
      Not surprisingly, there are national and local groups opposing wind farms, for example:
      http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/service/buerger-im-hessischen-driedorf-scheitern-mit-klagen-gegen-windraeder-a-824670.html [article about successful and unsuccessful objections to wind farms]
      http://wkaweg.jimdo.com/ [anti-wind farm lobby group]
      http://www.bomsdorf-world.de/media/3a38cbb827852e2effff803bfffffff1.pdf [lobby group ‘No Second wind farm in Sembten’]
      http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/climategate-anzeige/windraeder-machen-krank-durch-infraschall/ [climate change deniers]

      report
    5. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Monika Merkes

      Monika - what is the rate of "wind farm syndrome" in those countries?

      report
    6. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      A single letter from a single person reported by Pierpont? Doesn't add much.

      I know the phenomenon of sleep deprivation well - it's a hazard of my profession.

      I am also familiar with the difference between correlation and causation. I haven't seen anything that convinces me that the reported sleep deprivation is caused by the wind turbines.

      I am also familiar with city noise. Shift workers find ways of adapting to it.

      report
    7. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, the report is made by the sufferer and has been hosted on Pierpont's webpage. Whilst is it doesn't add much, it does suggest that something is going wrong in France and a language barrier prevents us for hearing more such stories.

      With regards to shift workers, yes they "adapt to it" but if I understand correctly it does ultimately translate into increased risks of cardiovascular disease.

      With regards to wind turbines here is another study just published with regards to sleep deprivation…

      Read more
    8. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      But George - you don't seem to get it. The evidence we have isn't saying that it doesn't happen, they're saying that it's psychogenic. You might have the context right, but not the causation.

      Many people have experienced what it is like to live under a flight path, on a bus route, work shifts and try to sleep during the day. That's an everyday reality for urban people.

      report
    9. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, some evidence suggests it's psychogenic? Actually what is that evidence? Are you talking about Wittert's unpublished study?

      report
  4. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Lenard Smith

      Um, Leonard, Simon's article is about the lack of evidence linking windfarms to ill-health and the deceptive behaviour of the anti-wind brigade. Smoking isn't mentioned. How about keeping on topic instead of distributing red herrings?

      report
    4. In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Comment removed by moderator.

    5. Lenard Smith

      Student

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      My apologies. I just wanted to point out the inconsistencies, and express that I can identify with Simon Chapman's frustrations towards anti-wind farm advocates within my own research. Apologies for any incovenience. I'll cease to post more about it here.

      report
  5. Ben Heard

    Director, ThinkClimate Consulting

    Great piece. That lovely little term "quacktivism" springs to mind.

    report
  6. Simon Chapman

    Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

    I have just updated the list of diseases and symptoms said to be caused by wind turbines. There are now 200 out there. The claims seem unstoppable and the funniest part of all is that anti-wind farm people write to me and say that I should be ashamed of myself for putting this list together. Errmm .. it's them who make these claims. If they don't like seeing them gathered together, I suggest they stop putting them out there. http://tobacco.health.usyd.edu.au/assets/pdfs/publications/WindfarmDiseases.pdf

    report
  7. George Papadopoulos

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Our dear professor says: “Experienced researchers rarely if ever use expressions such as ‘incontrovertible’” and “any legitimate researcher doing what she claims to be doing would be dismissed from their research job for engaging in “research” on human subjects without ethics approval.” No wonder why Sarah Laurie was never hired in research and instead has a medical degree – she was destined to do better things in life such as exposing official coverups…

    Let me however focus back on just one of…

    Read more
    1. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, if you could only pepper your verbal diarrhoea with demonstrable facts, you might have something valuable to contribute to the conversation but all you ever seem to provide are unsupported claims, anecdotes and innuendo.

      report
    2. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair you sooner or later will be claiming that I need to prove that I am human and didn't descend from Mars, and that I am asserting that my name is George.

      As I have stated to you previously, there is no point answering your posts. It a grand waste of time.

      report
    3. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Relax George, you don't need to prove anything to me or presumably, the other posters here. Your lack of objectivity and penchant for cherry picking confirms your low regard for factual evidence which refutes everything you claim.

      report
    4. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, just to remind you that your investment in a wind farm doesn't help your objectivity or ability to have a decent conversation.

      report
    5. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, I think it's well known by most of the posters here that I have a small financial interest in Australia's first community owned wind farm. I'm very proud of that fact, certainly not ashamed by it.

      Is that the very best you can do, attempting to poison the well? If nothing else it highlights how devoid you are of tangible evidence supporting your unsupported assertions.

      It's interesting that you would prefer to provoke division in communities by supporting unprovable claims rather than…

      Read more
    6. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair there is no point in responding to your personal attacks and insults. If Chapman feel hurt by my e-mails then let him speak for himself.

      In any case, thank you for divulging the fact that you in Chapman's inner circles of communication. At least now I can be certain that he does have indirect links to the wind industry.

      report
  8. George Papadopoulos

    logged in via LinkedIn

    And just one more contrasting view on wind turbine hosts and gag clauses WA Senator Back: http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/10/30/wind-turbines-senator-back/

    Whilst Simon Chapman might be correct in saying that "While some contracts do appear to have gag clauses, these are likely to be unenforceable in any case where true negligence or harm could be established", it appears most likely that those who do get to this stage are offered compensation settlements with gag clauses,

    Is there any need to guess why only one wind turbine host, David Mortimer, has so far gone public over his saga?

    report
  9. George Papadopoulos

    logged in via LinkedIn

    One more point on Chapman’s mass hysteria/psychogenic hypothesis and question over Chapman's claims that Sarah Laurie appears to be waging any efficient job at “scaring” people.

    Research by Cathy Wagg et al “Hearing voices: A narrative analysis of the Senate Inquiry into the Social and Economic Impacts of Rural Wind Farms” suggest that concerns over health are an issue for 7% of people prior to the installation of wind turbines, yet this increases to 27% after the installation of wind turbines.

    This is suggestive that most people don’t believe or concern themselves claims on adverse health effects till they actually experience such symptoms.

    And yes I can confirm, and have previously confirmed, that under certain weather conditions the effects of wind turbines are perceptible within minutes. That is why it didn't take me more than a couple of minutes to get the picture myself.

    report
    1. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      A slight distraction from the pitfalls of your article professor... Back to YOUR claims now.

      Your friend Leventhall has advised you that “I am appalled that Laurie asserts that experimental exposure to high levels of infrasound, around 125dB or higher, is relevant to the low levels of infrasound from wind turbines, although this gross misunderstanding might explain some of her irrelevant and inaccurate statements.”

      Perhaps you might be taking your own friend’s words out of context, perhaps…

      Read more
    2. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George Papadopoulos, you say: "And yes I can confirm, and have previously confirmed, that under certain weather conditions the effects of wind turbines are perceptible within minutes."

      I, on the other hand, can confirm that I can perceive the noise and vibration from a bus passing my bedroom window almost instantly.

      Are you trying to argue that barely perceptible noise is worse than perceptible noise? That's not what your Sofia citation says.

      report
    3. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, I don't mean the noise or vibrations - yes that is instantaneous. I refer to the effects of sinus pressure, headache, nausea, vertigo etc.

      I wrote an open letter on this two years ago and it is available on several websites including this one: http://www.redlandbayhomoeopathy.com.au/public_health__don_quixote.php (Chapman's favourite website for the purpose of mockery) I have also described the same problem on the comments section of previous Conversation postings of Chapman.

      With regards…

      Read more
    4. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George - if you are so unusually sensitive to tiny pressure changes, how do you go in aircraft? Lifts? Opening the window of your car?

      Sinus pressure occurs when there is a blockage of the sinus (creating a closed space) and a change in pressure of the atmosphere in a closed space (as in an aeroplane, car of lift). A pressure wave in open air doesn't change the ambient air pressure - it is dissipated.

      report
    5. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, what makes you think that we are talking about tiny pressure changes with regards to wind turbines?

      report
    6. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Easy - because:
      1. They are at a distance
      2. They are in open air - not enclosed spaces.

      report
    7. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, we can speculate on a lot of things, but until the measurements are made then the rest can be left to guess work.

      One thing I can say is that I have not got the best altimeter, but it can very unstable around wind farms...

      Furthermore if you see the which trees bend back and forth in the wake of turbulence, and the way cars can rock back and forth, then what?

      One last picture that says the story in terms of atmospheric disturbance: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=wake+turbulence+wind+turbine&view=detail&id=984DEC1BFB0D4DC5AABBB55960CE8F7D87C011AA&FORM=IDFRIR

      report
    8. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George - turbulence in open air is called "wind".

      The pressure you talk of is not in a confined space, so it dissipates. Simple, no?

      report
  10. Jason Tame

    Professional Human

    Thankyou Simon Chapman - fantastic to see informed academics holding this clearly delusional woman Sarah Laurie to account. After seeing documentaries and reports on this group years ago I had hoped they had faded into insignificance but alas it seems they have not.

    It amazes me that self serving activist groups such as this have such little subjective ability even in the face of increasing national and even international dismissal. And It is alarming and even distressing to hear that these…

    Read more
  11. Jason Tame

    Professional Human

    Thankyou Simon Chapman - fantastic to see informed academics holding this clearly delusional woman Sarah Laurie to account.  After seeing documentaries and reports on this group years ago I had hoped they had faded into insignificance but alas it seems they have not.

    It amazes me that self serving activist groups such as this have such little subjective ability even in the face of increasing national and even international dismissal.  And It is alarming and even distressing to hear that these…

    Read more