Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Winter 2013, page 4

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Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health

Michael A Nissenbaum, Jeffery J Aramini, Christopher D Hanning
Noise and Health, Year 2012, Volume 14, Issue 60 [p. 237-243]
DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.102961

Industrial wind turbines (IWTs) are a new source of noise in previously quiet rural environments. Environmental noise is a public health concern, of which sleep disruption is a major factor. To compare sleep and general health outcomes between participants living close to IWTs and those living further away from them, participants living between 375 and 1400 m (n = 38) and 3.3 and 6.6 km (n = 41) from IWTs were enrolled in a stratified cross-sectional study involving two rural sites. Validated questionnaires were used to collect information on sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index - PSQI), daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Score - ESS), and general health (SF36v2), together with psychiatric disorders, attitude, and demographics. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were performed to investigate the effect of the main exposure variable of interest (distance to the nearest IWT) on various health outcome measures. Participants living within 1.4 km of an IWT had worse sleep, were sleepier during the day, and had worse SF36 Mental Component Scores compared to those living further than 1.4 km away. Significant dose-response relationships between PSQI, ESS, SF36 Mental Component Score, and log-distance to the nearest IWT were identified after controlling for gender, age, and household clustering. The adverse event reports of sleep disturbance and ill health by those living close to IWTs are supported.

Citizens' task force calls for wind power moratorium

AUGUSTA - For Ethan Hall, who lives 3,500 feet from a wind turbine on Vinalhaven, being subjected to the turbine's sound is like listening to a drippy faucet - "torture." - "I wouldn't be here if it was easy to get used to," Hall said at a Feb. 19 press conference at the Statehouse Hall of Flags. "The sound is different from anything I have ever heard. It is an intense pulsing. It is impossible to block or mask this noise."

Hall wasn't the only person voicing his opinion at the press conference held by the Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power - a coalition of citizens advocating responsible, science-based, economically and environmentally sound approaches to Maine's energy policy - that is calling for a statewide moratorium on wind power. Doctors, lawyers and other citizens affected by the noise from the turbines spoke in an attempt to mandate better noise regulations before Maine goes any further with installing wind turbines around the state.

Explaining that the noise of the turbine in his back yard is very noticeable and not like a background hum, such as a refrigerator makes, Hall said he can't read, work, or get good rest in his own home. In fact, there was nowhere on his property where he can escape the din. He also said state noise regulations are "outdated." To make a point to those in attendance, a recording of a wind turbine was turned on during task force member Steve Thurston's opening remarks at the press conference. Later, when TV

news crews tried to conduct interviews with the speakers, the recording was turned on again, forcing the news crews to ask that the noise be turned off so they could finish the interviews.

According to some, turbine noise doesn't just bother humans. Jonathan Carter, director of Forest Ecology Network, spoke about the effect on animals. He said the turbines could have a profound negative impact, causing predatory problems, affecting reproductive success, and creating other issues. "They are going to damage the wildlife of Maine," said Carter. "We need a moratorium until we can get it right."

Several media members asked Thurston at the end of the press conference if he thought Gov. John Baldacci would ever change his mind for this cause. Thurston replied that he could not speak for the governor. Another man in attendance suggested that they play the turbine noise outside the Blaine House.

However, as distressing as the turbine noise is to Hall, he was able to concede that there was hope for solutions that would make the turbines quieter in the future. And he acknowledged that the large wind farms are "where there aren't any people." - "It's a matter of new technology," Hall diplomatically said. "Maybe it isn't quite right yet."

> Source of Article

Science Fact or Science Fiction: Robins and Worms

"Robins can hear worms underground." Dr. Robert Montgomerie from the Department of Biology at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, has actually studied this very subject. He says it is science fact. In experiments live meal worms were buried and the birds had no problem detecting them with their hearing. However, they were unable to hear dead worms because they didn't move about and, thus made no sounds.

CBC Quirks Website (March 31, 2012)

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