Living Next to Wind Farms & Feeling Queasy, then you’re Probably No Happy High Seas Traveller
More than once or twice, STT has picked up on hard-hitting scientific research that shows that those who suffer the worst effects of incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound are generally prone to suffer seasickness:
Now, a top Neuroscientist from Sydney University – Simon Carlile – is set to build on that body of research.
Wind farm effect on balance ‘akin to seasickness’: scientist
12 June 2015
The scientist who set up the Sydney University Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory — and who was asked to be involved in assessing the National Health and Medical Research Council’s targeted research examining the effect of wind turbines — says the growing body of evidence points to the low-frequency infrasound they create directly affecting the human nervous system.
Medical faculty associate professor of neuroscience Simon Carlile said it was time to properly examine the effects of low-frequency wavelengths and recognise that, like seasickness, they don’t affect everybody.
“In terms of the physiology, in terms of how we know the nervous system responds to this low-frequency noise, the evidence says ‘yes, the nervous system is activated at these frequencies’,” he told The Australian.
“But not in the traditional way you might think hearing works — it’s stimulating the system that’s involved in balance — the vestibular system. So there’s some good physiology, some good neuroscience, that this does exist and it’s been shown in animal models.”
But Associate Professor Carlile said its existence was only “one part of the story”.
“The other part is that some people are susceptible and some aren’t,” he said.
“It just means that when you look across 1000 people you can’t see a statistical effect across that population — because 90 per cent of them aren’t affected. Then the question is: why are some people affected and other people aren’t?
“And the answer to this could be because it’s not stimulating the ears — you can’t hear it at low frequency — it’s stimulating the vestibular system.’’
Associate Professor Carlile said that was similar to people who suffered seasickness.
“They get seasick because of the simulation of the vestibular system — and there seems to be quite significant variations of susceptibility to vestibular-induced nausea.
“A lot of the symptoms some people report around wind turbines are very similar to vestibular induced nausea or seasickness, like sleep disturbance.
“The nervous system is definitely sensitive to this stimulus.”
He said research could feed back to design: “This is going to be an important energy source and if we’re building tons of these things in the wrong places or building them in the wrong way then we’ve got big trouble.”
He felt the statistical and epidemiological approaches informing the debate had not been “hitting the mark. You have got potentially a wide range of individual difference on this: you’ve really got to be homing in on those differences.”
Simon Carlile may well have the nouse to crack the precise mechanism that has turbine infrasound causing vertigo and nausea among wind farm neighbours. However, his claim that: “This is going to be an important energy source” has him straying well outside his area of expertise. As STT followers well know, wind power is not, and will never be a meaningful power generation source, simply because it will never be available on-demand:
What we have is a nonsense power source – on which billions of dollars in subsidies have been squandered – that causes wholly unnecessary suffering to thousands of people around the world.
While Carlile’s planned investigation is clearly worthy, those people who suffer the worst effects (eg, vertigo, nausea etc) form a subset of a much, much larger group that suffer from the most common adverse health effect – sleep deprivation:
For every wind farm neighbour that suffers problems with balance or nausea, there are dozens more that suffer from what the World Health Organisation calls “environmental insomnia” – which it views as an adverse health effect in and of itself, and has done for over 60 years: see its Night-time Noise Guidelines for Europe – the Executive Summary at XI to XII which covers the point.
With researchers focusing on a small group of sufferers, there is a tendency to overlook the suffering of the many more who can no longer obtain a healthy night’s sleep.
Where people like Carlisle start talking about 10 or 15% of people affected with nausea and vertigo, that proportion – in the hands of the eco-fascists that run cover for the wind industry – quickly turns into a “tiny minority”, which is then used to feed that classic, malicious Marxist line about “the greatest good for the greatest number”. You know, the kind of argument that has wind farm neighbours tagged as “collateral damage” or “road-kill”; in an effort to justify the unjustifiable.
Civil societies (like ours once was) have used a bundle of common sense rules aimed at protecting the sanctity of sleep.
Humane societies have separated noisy activities since the time of the ancient Greeks – booting roosters, tinsmiths and potters out of Greek cities – and, in later times, organ grinders out of London.
In Australia today, roosters are banned in cities, suburbs and in most country towns. They have a body clock set earlier than most people and have a routine habit of waking up the whole neighbourhood. Faced with an errant rooster, authorities are quick to act against Foghorn Leghorn & Co on PUBLIC HEALTH GROUNDS.
Planning laws in most States prevent panel beaters from operating in built up areas before 8am and after 6pm.
And – either by operation of EPA regulations or planning laws – there is a total ban on the operation of chainsaws and lawn mowers in cities, suburbs and most towns. That strictly enforced prohibition operates, in Victoria, for example, Monday to Friday: before 7 am and after 8 pm; and on weekends and public holidays: before 9 am and after 8 pm.
So, if night-time noise isn’t a health problem, then why is it that there are strict rules about the permitted times for operating chainsaws, leaf blowers and lawn mowers – rules that keep roosters out of towns and cities – and rules that mean the plug gets pulled on rock bands and music venues at midnight in residential areas?
None of those long-settled rules required the ‘magic wand’ of peer-reviewed science; or the stamp of approval from the NHMRC. No. Those rules were the product of plain, old common sense – well rested individuals are happier and healthier, wherever they might plop down for some kip.
In short, sleep matters – and having turbines grinding and thumping away in the next paddock without let-up, all night long, deprives people of the ability to enjoy it – and that has consequences for everyone:
With a solid set of rules set up to benefit one class (all those not forced to live next door to giant fans) by prohibiting night-time noise from a variety of rather innocuous sources, the only question is why the same type of rule isn’t there to benefit the other class?
With everyone waxing lyrical about the Magna Carta’s 800 years of helping to keep tyrants honest – and ensuring that the little man got treated the same whoever he was – now is a fair time to ask, just what’s fair about having one set of rules for the 99% and no rule at all for the 1% forced to suffer sonic torture night-after-merciless-night?