Industrial wind turbines could cause sleep loss, study claims
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 27, 2012, at 7:15 p.m.
American and British researchers, including a radiologist from Fort Kent, have published what they claim is the first peer-reviewed study to conclude that people living near industrial wind sites could suffer significant sleep loss and other health problems.
Called “Effects of Industrial Wind Turbine Noise on Sleep and Health,” the study purports to show from data compiled via survey that people living 410 yards to 1,500 yards from the Mars Hill and Vinalhaven wind sites were sleepier during the day and had less sleep at night than people living 2.8 miles to slightly more than four miles away from the site.
“The levels of sleep disruption and the daytime consequences of increased sleepiness, together with the impairment of mental health … strongly suggest that the noise from IWTs [industrial wind turbines] results in similar health impacts as other causes of excessive environmental noise,” the study states.“The degree of effect on sleep and health from IWT noise seems to be greater than that of other sources of environmental noise, such as, road, rail and aircraft noise.”
Industrial wind advocates and entrepreneurs have held that a vast body of scientifically generated data show that wind sites produce no significant harm on people or nature, while those opposed to turbines have said low-level vibrations from them have caused a host of health problems.
Spokesmen for Fox Islands Wind LLC of Vinalhaven did not immediately return telephone and email messages seeking comment Tuesday. John Lamontagne, a spokesman for First Wind of Massachusetts, which owns the 28-turbine Mars Hill site, referred comment on the matter to a statement from the American Wind Energy Association.
A pro-wind group, the association called the peer-reviewed study “not scientifically defensible” and said it “recycles claims on wind energy and health already found inadequate” by courts, health agencies and an expert panel.