End the smug untouchability of the wind industry
Evidence is mounting about the health hazards of infrasound.
By David Leyonhjelm, Senator for New South Wales.
Late last year a group of rural residents met me to discuss their concerns over wind farms in their communities. They came from different areas and presented as sensible, down to earth people who you would be pleased to have as neighbours.
What I heard was a litany of planning ineptitude, government and industry indifference, and people becoming sick in homes they had lived in for decades.
I was so disturbed by this I moved a motion in the Senate to establish a committee to inquire into the regulation and governance of wind farms. All government and most crossbench senators supported my motion.
The inquiry has its fifth public hearing today. Although there are more to come, some matters are now apparent.
Firstly, it is beyond dispute wind turbines emit infrasound and low frequency noise, much of which is inaudible to most people. It is also well established that inappropriate levels of infrasound, regardless of the source, cause adverse health impacts.
We have known this since 1987, when Neil Kelley identified a direct causal link between impulsive infrasound and low frequency noise, and adverse effects on people. Research by NASA two years later established wind turbines could generate surprisingly high levels of infrasound and low frequency noise.
It is also clear that 10 to 15 per cent of the population is more sensitive to noise, including low frequency noise and infrasound. It is a mystery why some people are affected and not others, but their symptoms are similar to motion sickness, which also only affects some people.
I have met some of those affected. They tell me they mainly suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, but some also suffer sinus pressure, tinnitus, pains in the chest, headaches, nausea, and vertigo. Their symptoms vary, but the similarities are striking for people who live so far apart.