Wind turbines are safe. That is the conclusion of every reputable scientific study conducted into the impact of wind turbines on human health, based on a range of international research.
In 2004, a World Health Organisation report categorically showed that wind power was one of the most benign forms of electrical generation in terms of direct and indirect health effects. However, despite this wealth of scientific evidence, the myth persists that wind energy is harmful. The latest claims come from Dr Nina Pierpont, who alleges that wind turbines cause ailments ranging from sleeplessness to tinnitus.
Despite a veneer of scientific respectability, Dr Pierpont's findings, contained in her self-published book, are not endorsed by academics who specialise in low-frequency sound. The work flies in the face of decades of established medical research. It cites Manchester University's recent research into the workings of the human ear. However, the author of that research, Dr Neil Todd, wrote in this paper last week: "Our work does not provide the direct evidence suggested .... I do not believe that there is any direct evidence to show that any of the above acoustico-physiological mechanisms are activated by the radiations from wind turbines."
Given the lack of robust evidence to support Dr Pierpont's work, it is surprising that her assertions have received coverage in the UK's media, not least in the pages of The Independent on Sunday. Bad science is not just misleading; it can be damaging and disruptive, as the MMR and autism debcle has clearly shown.
The recent report on Dr Pierpont's new book aired her familiar argument that a new condition "wind turbine syndrome" is causing a rash of local illnesses. In response, the main NHS website stated: "This study provides no conclusive evidence that wind turbines have an effect on health or are causing the set of symptoms described here as 'wind turbine syndrome'" - explaining that "the study design was weak, the study was small and there was no comparison group". …