Despite rumors to the contrary, windmills do not cause cancer. For the past several decades, some physicians and anti-wind activists have used pseudoscience to suggest that wind turbine noise causes a variety of different health problems, from tinnitus and insomnia to birth defects and death.
None of these claims have been proven. Rather, they are based on anecdotal accounts from people who live near wind farms, who investigate small animals, or who have no truth at all.
In power, former President Trump has caused confusion by claiming that wind turbines can cause cancer. Again, this is simply not true. More than 20 studies show that there is no direct link between wind turbines, the noise they generate and health problems.
Here's everything you need to know about how this rumor originated and what research shows about the potential health effects of living near wind turbines.
What is wind turbine syndrome?
Wind turbine syndrome, also known as wind farm syndrome, is a group of symptoms that includes tinnitus, headaches, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, mental fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Apparently this is because it lives less than 2 km from the wind turbines.
This syndrome is not recognized as a real disease by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has been characterized as pseudoscience .
The phrase "wind turbine syndrome" was coined by Nina Pierpont, MD, a pediatric behavioral pediatrician whose husband is an anti-wind activist. Dr. Pierrepont interviewed ten families living near these "spinning giants" for her book The Wind Turbine Syndrome , which she published in 2009.
Sarah Laurie, an Australian physician (not officially registered or practicing physician), stated that adverse health effects allegedly associated with proximity to windmills could develop within 20 minutes of exposure.
The Waubra Foundation, an Australian advocacy group funded by the fossil fuel industry and known for astroturfing (an obvious grassroots organization created and funded by the industry for its benefit), has been a prominent advocate for further research on the wind turbine syndrome.
However, in December 2014, the organization was stripped of its non-profit status due to unsubstantiated health claims about "wind turbine syndrome" and "vibroacoustic disease . "
Concerns about health issues related to windmills resurfaced in April 2019, when then-President Trump, a longtime critic of the wind, said that "noise causes cancer" regarding wind turbines in a fundraiser for Republicans.
There is no scientific evidence for this, and this claim has been widely criticized and debunked as a myth by politicians and public health leaders alike .
Wind energy: a growing international market
According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), China and the United States are world leaders in the market for onshore wind turbines, which will account for more than 60% of new capacity in 2019. There are more than 59,900 utility wind turbines in the United States. United. Wind power could provide 20% of electricity by 2030 and 35% by 2050, according to the US Department of Energy .
Is there a wind turbine syndrome?
At the time of publication, there is no peer-reviewed scientific research to support the existence of "wind turbine syndrome. "
Research has failed to show a direct link between life around wind turbines, the sound they make, and the resulting health problems. Research has not linked living near wind turbines to mental health problems or adverse birth outcomes, such as low birth weight or premature birth.
In Australia, where researchers have taken complaints from people living near wind turbines seriously, the Australian Medical Association stated: 'Available Australian and international evidence does not support the notion that infrasound or generated low-frequency sound by wind farms, as they are currently regulated in Australia, negatively affects the health of the population in their neighborhood. "
Research shows that wind turbines can be annoying for those who live near them. Disorders such as noise and flickering in the shadows of windmills can cause headaches, mild nausea, or sleep disturbances in some people.
However, the research on these symptoms is mixed. Overall, more research is needed to rule out whether windmills are the specific cause of these health problems or whether other factors are to blame, according to a 2014 review in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine .
While the presence of windmills on the horizon can be annoying, these power-generating spinners pose no known threat to human health, and there is no evidence that they cause cancer.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) said it was "not aware of any credible evidence linking windmill noise to cancer. "
Problems and response
While there is no evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects, the impact of noise on residents and safety concerns have led some governments to pass laws regulating the location and noise levels of wind turbines. industrial.
While many countries apply man-made noise limits to wind turbines, other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and Sweden have also set specific noise limits for windmills.
In other countries, regulations may differ based on location. In Ontario, Canada, the Department of the Environment has issued guidelines requiring all wind farms to comply with noise limits. Additionally, Alberta requires an acoustic impact assessment for each new wind energy project.
In the United States, wind farms must partner with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as state and local governments, to comply with a variety of different regulations .
Wisconsin , for example, requires a recall (referring to the distance between wind farms and landmarks, buildings, roads, power lines, and communication lines) for occupied buildings, such as schools and places of worship, that measure 1,250 feet or 3, 1 times the maximum height. tip of the blade. …
Get the word of drug information
There is no evidence that wind farms or wind turbine noise can cause cancer or other health problems. If you are concerned about cancer or your health, please share our extensive knowledge on how to reduce your risk of cancer. Learn about cancer risk factors and lifestyle changes that can lower your risk.
Instead of worrying about a nonexistent threat like windmill cancer, try reducing your exposure to known carcinogens or cancer-causing substances. Some smart changes: quit smoking, drink less alcohol, limit your intake of red meat, eliminate processed meat from your diet, and use sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.