A new report from the Victorian Department of Health has dismissed claims that the very low frequency ‘infrasound’ produced by wind turbines poses a risk to human health – causing an effect that has been broadly labelled ‘wind turbine syndrome’.
The report, released last week, reaches a similar conclusion to the recent study by the South Australian Environmental Protection Authority: that there is no known way that the relatively small amount of inaudible infrasound produced by wind farms could affect the health of people living near them.
“Infrasound from wind farms has been found to be well below the hearing threshold of 85dBG, and therefore inaudible, even as close as 185 metres from the turbines,” says the report.
“The evidence indicates that sound can only affect health at sound levels that are loud enough to be easily audible. This means that if you cannot hear a sound, there is no known way that it can affect health. This is true regardless of the frequency of the sound.”
The report’s fact sheet also notes that humans are exposed to higher levels of infrasound from our own heartbeats, as well as from breathing and chewing, than from what we experience when are around wind farms.
“Infrasound is produced by the body at higher levels than many external sources, including wind farms,” says the report. “Humans have therefore been exposed to infrasound throughout our evolution.”
Other common sources of infrasound include the ocean, waterfalls, air conditioners and power plants.