An Australian Senate Committee has issued its
report recommending rejection of an anti-wind private members bill,
the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment (Excessive Noise
from Wind Farms) Bill 2012. The Senate Standing Committees on
Environment and Communications received 245 oral and written
submissions, and issued a substantial report on November 28.
Overall, the committee came to the same conclusions as every
other major study of anti-wind claims:
3.23 There is limited, and
contested, published evidence that wind farm noise may be
associated with annoyance and sleep disturbance in some
individuals, but the causes are not clear...
3.44 The committee concludes that,
while it is possible that the human body may detect infrasound in
several ways, there is no evidence to suggest that inaudible
infrasound (either from wind turbines or other sources) is creating
health problems. In contrast, there is an established literature
confirming the existence of psychogenic, or nocebo, effects in
general, and at least one study suggesting they may be responsible
for symptoms in some wind turbine cases.
3.50 ...the wide range of symptoms,
the regular expression of anxiety about wind farm construction, and
the widely varying relationship between the facilities and the
symptoms experienced, all suggest a complex situation that cannot
obviously be ascribed to the operation of wind turbines alone. The
committee concurs with Dr Tait that recurring claims of a
wind turbine syndrome, for which there is no peer-reviewed
evidence, are obscuring the focus on assisting properly the small
number of people whose cases do need attention. The committee is
also concerned that a nocebo response is developing, caused by the
reproduction and dissemination of claims about adverse health
impacts – claims not grounded in the peer-reviewed literature
See Acoustic Ecology's comments on the report here. Simon Chapman, professor of public health
at the University of Sydney, comments on the destructive power of
the anti-wind nocebo effect here. The study currently being conducted by
Health Canada is expected to primarily show this nocebo effect.
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