State panel finds no evidence of wind turbine syndrome

State panel finds no evidence of wind turbine syndrome

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The Vineyard's newest wind turbine was erected in November on the Allen Farm in Chilmark. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Experts convened by state health and environmental officials have found no evidence of a set of health effects from exposure to wind turbines that could be described as wind turbine syndrome, according to an independent panel report released Tuesday.

A panel of physicians and scientists also concluded “the weight of evidence suggests no association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health problems.”

State public health and environmental officials sought the report to address questions raised by the public about potential health impacts associated with proximity to wind turbines, the State House News Service reported. Panel members reported that evidence also shows that infrasound levels [below the normal limit of human hearing] near wind turbines cannot impact the vestibular system, which affects balance. And none of the epidemiological evidenced reviews suggested an association between turbine noise and pain and stiffness, diabetes, high blood pressure, tinnitus, hearing impairment, cardiovascular disease and headaches or migraines. The report comes as legislation aimed at streamlining the permitting system for land-based wind turbine projects remains stalled in committee.

Other conclusions: shadow flicker does not pose a risk for eliciting seizures as a result of photic stimulation and there’s limited evidence from studies suggesting an association between wind turbine noise and sleep disruption, although the report says it’s possible that turbine noise can cause sleep disruption.

The report is available at: mass.gov/dep/energy/wind/panel.htm. A public comment period on the report will remain open until March 19 and public meetings to take feedback are scheduled for February 14 at 10 Park Plaza, Boston; February 16 at Bourne High School and February 28 at the Lee Middle and High School Auditorium in Lee.