Growing body of research finds wind health claims linked to power of suggestion by anti-wind groups
Ottawa, March 22, 2013 – A new clinical study out of Australia finds that so-called ''wind turbine sickness'' may actually be caused by the suggestion from anti-wind groups that turbines make people sick. The study found that 63 per cent of Australia's 49 wind farms had never been the subject of any health complaint from nearby residents. It also found 68 per cent of the 120 complaints that have been made came from residents living near wind farms heavily targeted by the anti-wind farm lobby, and that ''the advent of anti-wind farm groups beginning to foment concerns about health (from around 2009) was also strongly correlated with actual complaints being made."
Study lead Simon Chapman, professor of public health at Sydney University, has said the results suggest that health problems attributed to wind energy are a ''communicated disease'' – or a sickness spread by the suggestion that something is likely to make a person sick. This is caused by the ''nocebo effect'' – the opposite of the placebo effect – in which the belief something can cause an illness creates the perception of illness. Chapman found a much greater connection between negative attitudes toward wind turbines and reports of health effects than any ''objective measures of actual exposure.''
“We review all credible information on the subject of wind turbines and human health as it is made available and it is clear that the balance of scientific evidence shows that wind turbines do not have an impact on human health. These new studies are of interest because they may have relevance for Canada where the majority of operating wind farms have not been the subject of health complaints by residents but anti-wind individuals and organizations have been travelling across Ontario and across Canada suggesting that Canadians will become ill from wind turbines. In many cases these presentations are made long before a wind turbine has even been constructed”, says Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). “We believe Canadians should base their decisions about energy on facts grounded in the best scientific evidence. The fact remains that wind energy is one of the safest forms of electricity generation for both humans and wildlife.”
Similar conclusions have been drawn in other research papers released this month.
Crichton, Fiona; Dodd, George; Schmid, Gian; Gamble, Greg; Petrie, Keith J.; “Can Expectations Produce Symptoms From Infrasound Associated With Wind Turbines?” Health Psychology, March 2013 states that “Results suggest psychological expectations could explain the link between wind turbine exposure and health complaints.”
Michael Witthöft, G. James Rubin; “Are media warnings about the adverse health effects of modern life self-fulfilling? An experimental study on idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF)”, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, March 2013 concludes that “Media reports about the adverse effects of supposedly hazardous substances can increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms following sham exposure and developing an apparent sensitivity to it.”
For more information on wind energy and human health, visit: http://windfacts.ca/your-health.
CanWEA is the voice of Canada's wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy on behalf of its almost 400 members. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada's leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits. To join other global leaders in the wind energy industry, CanWEA believes Canada can and must reach its target of producing 20 per cent or more of the country's electricity from wind by 2025. The document Wind Vision 2025 - Powering Canada's Future is available at www.canwea.ca.
For more information or interview opportunities, please contact:
Ulrike Kucera, Media Relations Officer
Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA)
Tel: 613-234-8716 ext. 228 | Mob: 613-867-4433
Lejla Latifovic, Communications Officer
Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA)
Tel: 613-234-8716 ext. 241 | Mob: 613-608-8226