We have all heard the stories. Wind turbines cause noise and that noise can be responsible for everything from nausea and headaches to tinnitus and cardiovascular problems. Yet, time and time again studies have proven these theories wrong.
Now, a new study has once again come along to show that wind turbines are indeed safe. A two-year Finnish study has declared that infrasound is not responsible for the symptoms associated with wind power.
"The project, carried out as part of the Government's joint analysis and research activities, examined whether the infrasound produced by wind turbines has harmful effects on human health. The studies focused on areas where residents have been known to attribute their symptoms to the infrasound produced by wind turbines," read a press release on the study.
Researchers used interviews, sound recordings, and laboratory tests to examine the potential health side effects on people living within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of windmill generators. What was really interesting was that although one-third of the residents reported in the surveys that windmills caused negative effects, in the laboratory tests no such effects were observed.
"The participants who had previously reported wind turbine infrasound related symptoms were not able to perceive infrasound in the noise samples and did not find samples with infrasound more annoying than those without previous wind turbine infrasound related symptoms," read the study. The researchers then speculated that any symptoms reported in the surveys were likely due to symptom expectancy.
Finally, long-term measurements were conducted to assess what kind of noise the wind turbines generated inside the nearby dwellings. These measurements lasted 308 days and took place in two different areas where windmills had a power output of 3–3.3 MW.
The researchers found that the frequency of the noise produced inside the homes was less than 2 Hz. Could it be that windmill symptoms are completely imaginary? Study after study seems to prove so.