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NHMRC Draft Information Paper: Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health submission

This submission reflects the views of
Organisation Name: 
Clean Energy Council
Please identify the best term to describe the Organisation: 
Non-government organisation
Personal Details
Q1. Is the draft Information Paper presented and written in a manner that is easy to understand?: 


Q2. Does the draft Information Paper clearly outline how the evidence was reviewed and interpreted by NHMRC?: 


Q3. Is there additional evidence on any health or health-related effects specifically related to distance from wind turbines or exposure to emissions from wind turbines?: 

Australian Medical Association statement on Wind Farms and Health. 

Statement released 18 March 2014

AMA finds that "The infrasound and low frequency sound generated by modern wind farms in Australia is well below the level where known health effects occur, and there is no accepted physiological mechanism where sub-audible infrasound could cause health effects".

Further info and full statement here: https://ama.com.au/position-statement/wind-farms-and-health-2014

Victorian Department of Health information booklets on wind farms, sound and health

Two booklets published 1 May 2013

Technical information booklet found that "There is no evidence that sound which is at inaudible levels can have a physiological effect on the human body. This is the case for sound at any frequency, including infrasound".

Further info and information booklets here: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/environment/windfarms.htm

NSW Health Advice in Planning Assessment Commission report for Bodangora Wind Farm, NSW

NSW Planning Assessment Commission Determination Report 30 August 2013

PAC Report includes advice from NSW Health including that "NSW Health was very clear in its advice, which is consistent with that of the National Health and Medical Research Council - that there is no published scientific evidence to link wind turbines with adverse health effects".

Full PAC report available here: http://www.pac.nsw.gov.au/Projects/tabid/77/ctl/viewreview/mid/462/pac/321/view/readonly/myctl/rev/Default.aspx

Q4. Is there additional evidence on the likely level of exposure to emissions produced by wind farms at nearby residences? : 

EPA South Australia Waterloo Wind Farm Environmental Noise Study

Published November 2013

EPA SA undertook extensive monitoring at the wind farm and nearby residences and found that "The Waterloo Wind Farm meets relevant South Australian and international standards and there is no evidence linking the noise from the wind farm to adverse impacts on residents".

Full report available here: http://www.epa.sa.gov.au/xstd_files/Noise/Report/Waterloo_wind_farm_report.pdf

Q5. Is there additional evidence on whether it is plausible that noise, shadow flicker and electromagnetic radiation (of the type and at the levels produced by wind farms) might affect healthy functioning of the human body?: 

Can Expectations Produce Symptoms From Infrasound Associated With Wind Turbines?

Crichton F, Dodd G, Schmid G, Gamble G, Petrie KJ

Published in Health Psychology Journal 11 March 2013

Study found that "Healthy volunteers, when given information about the expected physiological effect of infrasound, reported symptoms that aligned with that information, during exposure to both infrasound and sham infrasound. Symptom expectations were created by viewing information readily available on the Internet, indicating the potential for symptom expectations to be created outside of the laboratory, in real world settings. Results suggest psychological expectations could explain the link between wind turbine exposure and health complaints".

Peer reviewed paper available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23477573

The Power of Positive and Negative Expectations to Influence Reported Symptoms and Mood During Exposure to Wind Farm Sound

Crichton F, Dodd G, Schmid G, Gamble G, Cundy T, Petrie KJ

Published in Health Psychology Journal 25 November 2013

Study found that "During exposure to audible windfarm sound and infrasound, symptoms and mood were strongly influenced by the type of expectations. Negative expectation participants experienced a significant increase in symptoms and a significant deterioration in mood, while positive expectation participants reported a significant decrease in symptoms and a significant improvement in mood. Conclusion: The study demonstrates that expectations can influence symptom and mood reports in both positive and negative directions. The results suggest that if expectations about infrasound are framed in more neutral or benign ways, then it is likely reports of symptoms or negative effects could be nullified".

Peer reviewed paper available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24274799

How the factoid of wind turbines causing 'vibroacoustic disease' came to be 'irrefutably demonstrated'.

Chapman, S., St George, A.

Published in Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2013

Study concluded that Vibroacoustic Disease "VAD has received virtually no scientific recognition beyond the group who coined and promoted the concept. There is no evidence of even rudimentary quality that vibroacoustic disease is associated with or caused by wind turbines".

Peer reviewed paper available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23731107?dopt=Abstract

The pattern of complaints about Australian wind farms does not match the establishment and distribution of turbines: support for the psychogenic, 'communicated disease' hypothesis. 

Chapman, S., St George, A., Waller, K., Cakic, V.

Published in PloS One 2013

Study concluded that "The reported historical and geographical variations in complaints are consistent with psychogenic hypotheses that expressed health problems are "communicated diseases" with nocebo effects likely to play an important role in the aetiology of complaints".

Peer reviewed study available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24146893?dopt=Abstract

Q6. Is there additional evidence of health and health-related effects observed from other sources producing noise, shadow flicker and electromagnetic radiation of the type and at the levels produced by wind farms? : 

No suggestions

Page reviewed: 11 February, 2015