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Stepping up research into possible health effects in operation and expansion of wind turbines  
Author:  German Medical Association

Increasing research into possible health effects from the operation and expansion of wind turbines - The motion of Dr. Bernd gap (Printed Matter VI - 106) will be Transferred for Further consideration to the Executive Board of the German Medical Association ]

The motion of Dr. Bernd gap (printed matter VI - 106) will be transferred for further consideration to the Executive Board of the German Medical Association:

The wind energy as a renewable forms of energy will be used more in future. This is social consensus after decided in summer 2011 nuclear phase-out. The abandonment of nuclear energy shows that problematic aspects of the use have been moved in the future; To date, the issue of the disposal of fuel rods is not really solved. With regard to renewable forms of energy should the entire life cycle of these technologies from the initial raw material supply to disposal in the planning and risk considerations are incorporated in advance. This requires scientifically sound findings on potential health effects in order to make a conscious balance between benefit and reasonability of valid impairments and risks. In particular for emissions in the low frequency and infrasound range, there are no reliable independent studies that investigate suitable for this sound field measurement methodology, the effects below the hearing threshold. Thus, a wholesomeness that noise pollution has not been established at present.

The 118th German Medical Assembly in 2015 therefore calls for the federal government to close the gaps in knowledge about the health effects of infrasound and low frequency sound from wind turbines (WEA) through scientific research and to clarify open questions in the field of measurement methods and, where appropriate, adjust regulations to allow the expansion and the operation of wind turbines wisely, can be carried out carefully, holistic expertise, sustainability and overall social responsibility.


Particularly in the health effects of infrasound (<20 Hz) and low-frequency sound (<100 Hz) are by emissions and emissions from wind turbines still open questions, such. As to the effect of noise below the hearing threshold or lower frequencies with increasing exposure duration. Furthermore, a need for adjustment in measuring methods and regulations should be checked for. As on the portability of radiation and propagation models for smaller wind turbines on large systems as well as binding rules of measurement and evaluation of low frequencies (0.1 to 20 Hz).

Core objectives:

  • Systematic, transparent, open-ended, empirical research of PERMEANT in the human body low frequency range
  • Networking with have long been searching in this field abroad groups
  • Continuous publication of the results, the research methodology to approach a stop expansion of settlements, pending sufficiently reliable data, which exclude a hazard safely.
  • In the distance problems, the noise and the shadows the wind turbine positions for settlement depending on the topographical condition, the main wind direction and the sun's rays have to be considered in addition to the installation height as well. If for example a wind turbine park on the wind- and sun-facing side before a settlement, so sound propagation and shadows of the settlement will be disturbing, as if the wind farm is behind this settlement.
  • A need of reform technical guidance on Noise (TA-Lärm), which protects only insufficient, can not continue to be used as a protective provision.
  • The resulting sound research initiated plays at all levels of sound exposure a health protective role, not only in wind turbines.
  • Also important is the study of structure-borne sound (= low-frequency solid vibrations from 100 Hz to 0.1 Hz), which emanates equally dangerous in the form of the modern wind turbines.
  • Structure-borne sound also arises already when the rotors of wind turbines not yet running, but due to the bending vibrations of extremely high wind turbine towers. It is transferred over the foundations in the ground environment. Depending on the topological and geomorpher situation (soil layers) at the location of such facilities, the structure-borne sound can be readily up to 10 km and be registered as immission in the housing development. Here to view the infrasound (airside) only sole and investigate, is thus not sufficient to bring explainable and useful findings.
  • Therefore, should the framework of measurements to assess the health risk of the future always in addition to the external measurements and internal measurements are carried out in the houses (instead of the usual practice here of acoustic calculations).
  • The interactions of structure-borne noise and air infrasound can enable the detection threshold of affected people has come down significantly. Health problems of these individuals may therefore occur even at very low levels.
118th German Medical Assembly [118th German Medical Assembly] 
Frankfurt, 12.05. - 05/15/2015 
TOP VI - 106

Download original document: "118th German Medical Assembly - the decision memorandum "

Graham Lloyd

Environment Editor


German doctors want more research into the health effects of wind turbines. Source: AP

The “parliament” of Germany’s medical profession has called on its leaders to support a halt to further wind farm developments near housing until more research has been undertaken into the possible health impacts of low-frequency noise from wind turbines.

The issue was debated at the German Medical Assembly in Frankfurt on Friday and transferred to the executive board of the German Medical Association.

Association policy adviser Adrian Alexander Jakel confirmed a motion calling for ­research had been forwarded to the board “for further action”.

Germany is considered a world leader in adopting renewable ener­gy and the minutes of the Medical Assembly meeting said that, with the phase-out of nuclear power, more wind energy would be used in future. But it said the entir­e life cycle of renewable technologies, from the initial raw mater­ial supply to disposal and the planning and risk considerations, should be considered in advance.

The Medical Assembly motion said this required “scientifically sound findings of potential health effects, and a deliberate balance between benefit and validity to be able to make conscious weightings between the benefits and of the disadvantages and risks”.

“In particular regarding emissions in the low frequency and infra­sound range there are no reliab­le independent studies that investigate field measurement methodology suitable for this sound field below the threshold of hearing,” they said.

The assembly called for the federal government to close the gaps in knowledge about the health effec­ts of infrasound and low-frequenc­y sound from wind turbines through scientific research.

It said research should clarify open questions concerning meas­urement methods and, where approp­riate, adjust regulations to “allow the expansion and the operation of wind turbines wisely, carefully, with integrated expertise, sustainability and overall societal responsibility”.

It said the health effects of infra­sound (below 20 Hz) and low-frequency sound (below 100 Hz) in relation to emissions from wind turbines were “still open questions’’, as were “the effects of noise below the hearing threshold or lower frequencies with increasing exposure duration”. The assembly said the erection of more turbines close to settlements should be stopped until there was reliable data to exclude a safety hazard.
Notice: This story has been translated using Google translate. Some translations may not be fully correct.

In Quebec, a second group of citizens wants to bring a class action against wind developers. They complain of noise and dust, and fear that their homes will lose value.

The residents of Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf in Chaudière-Appalaches, trying to get court permission to institute a class action against the wind developer Invenergy and even against Hydro-Québec, which retained it in inhabited areas project . Peter Labranche involved in the class action. The Des Moulins wind park are located less than a kilometer from his house, to his chagrin. 

"They have taken away our peace, destroys landscapes, especially in winter. My house vibrates. It makes no sense. "- Peter Labranche, resident of Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf
Neighbourhood disorders

At twenty kilometers away, residents of St. Ferdinand had, in October 2014, the permission of the Superior Court of Quebec to bring the first class action against the province for wind developers.Nearly 500 residents, neighbors of the park, could enroll in this appeal against Aeolian maple. In the heart of the argument, the principle of neighborhood disturbances. Under the Civil Code, the neighbors must tolerate normal neighborhood disturbances. This implies that there is also abnormal disorders neighborhood. 

This notion of neighborhood disturbances was at the heart of the case of St. Lawrence Cement. In 2008 the Supreme Court of Canada ordered the Beauport cement plant to compensate his neighbors for the noise and dust that has accumulated in their homes. The judgment of the highest court of the country stated that even without fault of their own, a company that causes abnormal annoyances is responsible.

This case law will be invoked by the lawyers of neighboring wind farms. The complainants state that being close to a wind farm is endure the noise and dust during construction. They argue that the presence of wind turbines devalues ​​property prices. As Yvon Bourque of St. Ferdinand, who believes that nobody will buy her house now that 22 wind turbines are around. 

But all this remains unproven. It is the merit that such practices causes: force the industry and scientists to study more accurately the impact of wind turbines on the lives of their neighbors.

Read also:

In the region of Quebec, a judge just refused to another group a class action for damages for nuisance against the promoters of wind farms of Seigneurie de Beaupré. The magistrate believes that the group covered by the remedy was too broad. The applicants are preparing to appeal this decision.

In France, wind turbines destroy?

In October 2013, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, Flers castle owners have been successful against a wind developer. A judge ordered the company to destroy wind windmills that spoil the view of the castle. The case is on appeal, but it is a harbinger of an almost inevitable effect of the construction of wind parks in inhabited areas: actions for justice on the part of those who suffer the effects of wind presence without deriving of profit. Causes are currently before the French courts, the US and now here. 

The CCA (Council of Canadian Academics) continues to rehash selected studies to benefit wind turbine development, and appears to set aside wind turbine complaints as only a nuisance for public health officials.  Dismissing white papers as ‘grey’ and neighbors documentation for harm, just adds to the number of wind turbine victims. Expert panels lose credibility by citing earlier flawed governmental studies.  CCA did not review the decision by the Brown County Board of Health (Wisconsin, USA), which found the Shirley Wind Turbine Project to be a public health nuisance.  Public health studies should not appear to be performed with blind eyes and deaf ears.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Respectfully submitted,
Stephen E. Ambrose, ASA, INCE, Board Certified
Principal Consultant, and wind turbine victim

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