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Wind turbine “disease” based on study of just one boy

Anti-wind farm activists claim that ‘vibroacoustic disease’ is caused by wind turbines. This claim is based on a flimsy case report of just one boy whose only described symptom was problems concentrating at school.

This is the finding from a study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Simon Chapman and Alexis St George from the University of Sydney used web and database searches to examine the quality of evidence on how vibroacoustic disease came to be associated with wind turbine exposure.

“A total of 35 research papers was found on vibroacoustic disease. Of these, all but one had a first author from the same research group and none of the papers contained any reference to wind turbines,” Professor Chapman said.

“With some 24,700 mentions in cyberspace, the connection between vibroacoustic disease and wind turbines has gone ‘viral’, is commonly included in submissions to governments by anti-wind farm activists and is often mentioned in media interviews.

“Wind turbines have the potential to make major contributions to renewable energy generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and authorities should take care to examine the quality of evidence that claims they harm health,” Professor Chapman said.

Such claims may contribute to ‘nocebo’ effects of people living near turbines, giving them an expectation of negative effects and increasing the likelihood of them experiencing symptoms.


MEDIA ONLY: To receive a PDF of the paper or for more information about ANZJPH, contact: Peta Neilson ANZJPH Administration Ph: (03) 9329 3535 E-mail: anzjph@substitution.com.au


The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health is published by the Public Health Association of Australia. Information on the Association and the Journal can be found at http://www.phaa.net.au