A review of thousands of papers looking at the possible relationship between wind farms and human health has concluded “there is currently no consistent evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects in humans”.
Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) identified over 4,000 papers that looked at the issue. However, just 13 studies were found to be of “sufficient scientific quality” to consider possible relationships between wind farms and human health. The review was overseen by NHMRC’s Wind Farms and Human Health Reference Group and compromised of experts in public and environmental health, research methodology, acoustics, psychology and sleep.
Given the poor quality of current direct evidence and concerns expressed by some members of the community, NHMRC recommend high quality research into possible health effects of wind farms, particularly within 1,500 meters.
The medical research body has issued a previous statement before after analysing 2,850 published references and more than 500 public submissions regarding noise pollution, ‘shadow flicker’ and electromagnetic radiation caused by wind farms. This study concluded that there was no conclusive evidence of any health consequences from these sources.
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However, the latest research did add that there is “consistent but poor quality” direct evidence that wind farm noise is associated with annoyance, as well as less consistent, poor quality direct evidence of an association between sleep disturbance and wind farm noise.
After considering evidence on the effects of similar emissions from other sources, including what is known about environmental noise from road traffic, aircraft and rail, the NHMRC adds that it is unlikely that people would experience significant health effects beyond 1,500 metres from wind farms.
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