This letter is the formal response of the Waubra Foundation to the NHMRC commissioned Systematic Review and the NHMRC’s Draft Information Statement concerning wind turbines and adverse health effects. I note that the public has not been invited to comment on the Systematic Review, however in light of the serious issues which have arisen about that document and because the draft information statement relies heavily upon the Systematic Review, this has been sent directly to you, and is a public document.
As you know, the Chairman of the Waubra Foundation, Mr Peter Mitchell, is an observer on the NHMRC Literature Review Panel, and is bound by a strict confidentiality agreement. Accordingly no discussion with Mr Mitchell about the Panel’s deliberations has taken place with any Board member, including any discussion about either the Systematic Review or the Draft Information Statement. Mr Mitchell has had no involvement in the preparation of this document, and the contents of it have not been discussed with him. The comments relate solely to the wind turbine noise evidence.
We are pleased the NHMRC has acknowledged the lack of concurrent full spectrum acoustic measurements together with objective physiological monitoring of sleep (EEG), blood pressure, heart rate and biochemical markers of physiological stress such as cortisol. We hope that identification of this important gap in knowledge (which we identified to the first Federal Senate Inquiry three years ago) is immediately addressed with thorough independent multidisciplinary research, conducted by researchers with no conflict of interest, and that the sole motivation of the research is the prevention of harm to human health from environmental noise.
We would like to see such multidisciplinary research extended to include other environmental noise sources.
Sarah Laurie, CEO Waubra Foundation
Bachelor Medicine, Bachelor Surgery, Flinders University, 1995
For Waubra's Supporting Documentation Go to:
There is a large body of relevant research relating to the adverse health consequences of chronic sleep disturbance and chronic stress, regardless of the cause. One important recent meta analysis by Capuccio et al was provided to the Systematic Literature Team but was excluded (p 266) because “the population was unsuitable”.
Whilst the population in this meta analysis was not exclusively wind turbine sleep deprived residents, clearly the findings that cardiovascular disease was associated with insufficient sleep is of great relevance to a population group whose main reported adverse health effect, acknowledged in the limited research literature, is sleep disturbance. The cause of the sleep disturbance is immaterial to the downstream health effects, but the consequences are clear. The Capuccio meta analysis is available here:
A subset of these people also report symptoms which UK Acoustician Professor Geoffrey Leventhall has identified as known to him for years to be “symptoms of annoyance from environmental noise”, but which others especially those trained in the diagnosis of human diseases are increasingly calling “wind turbine syndrome” (WTS) or “infrasound and low frequency noise syndrome” (ILFNS). Academic socioacoustic
researchers use the term “annoyance” to mean something else again.
Use of the term “highly annoyed” to refer to someone who is acutely suicidal, who medical practitioners would refer to as a “psychiatric emergency” is but one example of the misunderstanding caused between the different professional groups by the use of this word. Medical practitioners do not generally understand what others such as researchers and acousticians mean when they use the word “annoyance” as it is not a clinical diagnostic descriptor, and usage hides the range and severity of the specific adverse health impacts.
The sound frequencies below 200 Hz which directly cause these “annoyance” symptoms from wind turbine sound emissions were identified nearly 30 years ago by Dr Neil Kelley and a large team from 15 Research institutions including two branches of NASA, and funded by the US Government Department of Energy.