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Video: Colbert on ‘wind turbine syndrome’

In Wednesday night’s episode, “The Colbert Report” took on “wind turbine syndrome,” the vast array of health claims sometimes associated with living near wind turbines: “You can catch it from any green technology I don’t approve of.”

Anecdotal health claims are cited frequently by opponents of wind farms, though there is at present no scientific evidence that wind turbines actually cause the symptoms reported (other than sleep disruption and its associated effects). A recent study found a correlation with symptoms associated with depression were more common among people living near wind turbines, and Canada is embarking on a wider study of the issue.

In his segment, Colbert references a July article by Simon Chapman, an Australian professor of public health who has found that a full 155 different health disorders have been claimed as the result of “wind turbine syndrome, including “several types of cancer, and both losing weight and gaining weight. You name it.”

Colbert: “The point is, Obama is going to kill us all. So, we should all just keep burning fossil fuels – that way, the problem won’t be all in your head. It’ll be spread evenly throughout your lungs.”



Comments (60)

Oh, sure, Colbert says it so it must be true. Nonsense. Let’s all look at some actual science. Here is an peer-reviewed study published this month:;year=2012;volume=14;issue=60;spage=237;epage=243;aulast=Nissenbaum

The point is that point is that fun at the expense of people’s health being ruined is despicable. To do it for the sake of television show ratings is morally reprehensible. I’m sure that Steven would have been doing a similar piece on the impacts of cigarette smoking on health if he had been on TV in the ’50s. Each generation has it’s run-in with junk science and junk scientists like Simon Chapman.

BTW, Health Canada is funding a multi-year, multi-million dollar study to help find out how and why people are being impacted by industrial scale turbines.

By Wind Truth on Nov 8, 2012

@Wind Truth: An article about that very study is linked in the post. It also mentions the Health Canada study.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 8, 2012

One article….you have one article that disputes the decades of other peer reviewed studies that show, at best, wind turbines are annoying to those who have a negative attitude towards them? By the way – have you done any background research on the authors of your one article? Check them out…their clear bias and distaste towards wind prevents them from conducting an independent scientific study.

Simon Chapman is a well respected researcher, who has only exposed that attitude is key. He is also compiling a list of claims of symptoms – he is now at 200. If this were such a health scare, do you not think more people would be affected? Use some rational thought here….

By solarridge on Nov 8, 2012

@Wind Truth: If the study wasn’t likely to be retracted or changed heavily, you might have a point.

As it is, it is authored by three long-time anti-wind activists, two on the Advisory Board of the anti-wind lobbyist group, Wind Vigilance, and one who has been creating bias through poorly designed studies in the two wind farms for almost four years.

The thanked reviewers are paid anti-wind testifiers in litigation and siting reviews and two make money off of complainants by doing expensive noise studies around their homes.

The data shows at best a weak correlation but states a strong causation, and further throws out bias — which has been enhanced by one of the authors himself — as a possible cause of the effects, despite significant literature that shows that bias has a very strong effect in noise annoyance.

So, biased authors and reviewers finding results that are unsupported by their data and ignoring the bias that they’ve helped create. As I said, likely to be retracted.

For full references, links and citations of this analysis, please look here:

By Mike Barnard on Nov 8, 2012

I grew up with a coal plant virtually in my back yard. Let’s talk about sickness, shall we?

By DJ Shiva on Nov 8, 2012

I always find it really sad that those people who don’t live anywhere near a 500 foot turbine feel they have the right to ridicule and denigrade victims who have had their lives turned upside down and are suffering.

It’s so much easier to listen to the lies and propaganda put out by the wind industry that their products are safe. Yeah…no bias there at all. Why don’t we all go back to believing the cigarette companyies that claim their products are safe too?

By Laura on Nov 8, 2012

Chapman? One study? More nonsense from the wind-bedazzled…

By Wind Truth on Nov 8, 2012

Simon Chapman’s response:

By Ken Paulman on Nov 8, 2012

Video geoblocked by a company stuck in the 20th century.

By Tim on Nov 8, 2012

Interesting how people say I am ridiculing claims about wind turbines by simply gathering together all the claims made by those who claim they are toxic. Errrm .. they are YOUR claims, antis. There are 207 now — please send me any extra ones to add to the list

By Simon Chapman on Nov 8, 2012


I mention Sarah Laurie’s usage of studies, quotes and science in this article. It is quite relevant to your claims.


By Ketan Joshi on Nov 8, 2012

This guy is supposed to be funny? What a pompous jerk

By the angry buddhist on Nov 9, 2012

Here’s another recent study documenting the reality of “wind turbine syndrome”.

Let Steve Cobert come to eastern Massachusetts: Falmouth, Fairhaven, Kingston, Scituate … to offer his moronic yuks to afflicted residents.
But, hey, anything for a laugh, in the service of a bogus green theology !

By Jim on Nov 9, 2012

Steve Cobert, you are so totally not funny. The wind turbine agenda is a destructive force. All that so many have worked so hard to preserve for so many years, including homes and personal stability, is being destroyed in the name of this green monster. The monster is white, it is a machine, it weighs 62 tons, it is 50-stories tall and it causes illness and, yes, get up close and in person with it as has been suggested by Jim on Nov 9, 2012; visit the cities and towns of Falmouth, Fairhaven, Kingston, Scituate, the mountain ridges and pristine lakes of Vermont and New Hampshire and Maine and then revisit the topic publicly with the truth; you owe the viewing audience that. And, you need to know the truth to speak it.

By Marie-Jane on Nov 9, 2012

Stephen Colbert although I have just written, perhaps this will help you to understand the seriousness of what you have taken so lightly. Tomorrow, November 10, 2012 in Falmouth, MA there will be a Human Rights Conference ( see the flyer copy below); it will include guests from around the world (from tiny Aruba to giant Australia) about the topic of industrial wind turbines and humans. I ask, now, seriously, that you revisit the subject of industrial wind turbines on an upcoming show from the perspective of the persons who have been negatively impacted by the industrial wind turbine agenda. You must. Thank you. Flyer copy follows:

Falmouth Conference on Human Rights There is no shortage of personal hardship when residents endure wind turbine development. Encounters from Australia to Canada to Cape Cod and Southeast Massachusetts will be explored at the Falmouth Conference on Human Rights on November 10, 2012. Science, medicine and engineering will all be called upon to explain the impacts of living too close to industrial wind turbines.

An international line-up of speakers includes Carmen Krogh of Ontario, Canada, and Dr. Sarah Laurie of the Waubra Foundation in Australia. Speakers from the U.S. include Dr. Nina Pierpont, John Droz and Curt Devlin. Local speakers Lilli Green and Preston Ribnik, from Wellfleet, will also talk about the human toll they captured in their documentary as they interviewed victims of industrial-scale wind.

Community panelists from turbine-impacted towns in Massachusetts will describe declining health in affected families and economic fallout–to homeowners and local governments–from wind development.

Organizers David Moriarty of Falmouth and Marsh Rosenthal of Savoy promise an unvarnished picture of this human rights concern. Moriarty said, the community panelists “are encouraged to tell the conference and the media about the extraordinary measures that they have had to take to engage attorneys and to communicate their plight to the larger public.”

The forum runs from 1 :00 to 4:00 pm at the Falmouth Public Library at 300 Main Street. The free program is open to the public and refreshments will be offered.

For further information, to donate or help out, contact David Moriarty ( or 774-521-8474) or Marsh Rosenthal ( or 413-743-5256).

By Marie-Jane on Nov 9, 2012

do not get bogged down in trading “studies”…we all know that studies can be manipulated…as with the much heralded Massachusetts DEP DPH “study” (junk science at its best)…here, please read the experience of one of my friends…Mr. Cobert, perhaps you could show a shred of compassion and walk in this family’s shoes. Read here:

By phelps on Nov 9, 2012

response to this post: I grew up with a coal plant virtually in my back yard. Let’s talk about sickness, shall we?
By DJ Shiva
Since when do we justify one wrong by pointing to another?
A concept taught to me by my parents early on in life…what you are doing DJShiva is changing the subject, this IS not a story about “coal”…this is a story about a technology that is “sold” to our local communities as “green” and “clean”…and it is not! First and foremost wind is an intermittent resource that can not be depended on…there is no consistency…the result is that twice as much fuel needs to be combusted by back up sources of power…powering up and down to deal with winds precarious nature…this powering up and down negates any and all perceived savings realized by industrial wind factories! Dirty little secret #101…sold as lowering CO2 levels, pure BS…not to mention the acres of forested CO2 absorbing forests that need to be razed to accomplish this “dirty little secret #101″…that would be dirty little secret #102…check out Newfound Lake New Hampshire…plan is to take pristine forest land (4,000 acres) and plant 38 industrial wind factories…WHY? so Iberdrola, foreign turbine firm can reap the subsidies and grants …no not to save the earth or fight global warming but to line their pockets…that is the real “green motivator” dirty little secret #103…need I go on???
Mr Colbert, your surface thinking does not serve a public good, dirty little secret #104! Try digging below the surface on this issue…oh, that won’t work because it would no longer qualify for cheap laughs…dirty little secret #105….

By phelps on Nov 9, 2012

As someone who has actually been attempting to continue living a normal life since the Falmouth, Massachusetts industrial wind turbines went on line, now 2 1/2 years, I
know this is not possible. The effects have been devastating to my family and myself. These are machines of torture and must be regulated to a least a mile distant from populations.
Many studies have determined that much more than a one mile separation is necessary to avoid possible ill effects.

By BARRY FUNFAR on Nov 9, 2012

@Barry – can you tell us what your diagnosis was, and how it’s linked to the wind turbine?

By Ken Paulman on Nov 9, 2012

Not funny.

By Lisa Linowes on Nov 9, 2012

Ken Paulman,

Will you try to get the other side aired on the Stephen Colbert show? I think the burden of proof regarding the safety, health issues and economics of the Industrial Wind Turbine Agenda should be on the manufacture, the government that is blindly supporting the “agenda” and the developer. There is too much new information coming from around the world regarding the negatives of industrial wind turbines and too many positive alternatives to wind to continue to move forward with the agenda without the answers people are seeking. One must question why so much money and emphasis is being placed on industrial wind turbines.

By Marie-Jane on Nov 9, 2012

hey ken paulman…are you serious? you question barry funfar , why? because you care? (yes that is a serious question). Do you plan to make a journalistic stand to report the experience of the “victims”? Or do you ask this question to further his pain by asking questions he and his neighbors have been answering and testifying to for much too long? Over 2 1/2 years of torture, life altering disruption, invasion of private property rights along with government stonewalling and foot dragging…and you want to apparently needle him for some sort of evidence? Here is some evidence to digest (pay particular attention to the May 24, 2012 Board of health meeting). It will be interesting to know what you do with all of this information…perhaps a request for an apology from Mr Colbert…and a dedication to the truth of this sorry business?

By phelps on Nov 9, 2012

@phelps: Yes, that is what journalists are supposed to do. We ask questions. He says a wind turbine made him sick, I’m asking what disease he was diagnosed with and how the wind turbine caused it (as opposed to other factors). I apologize if that’s intrusive, but frankly it doesn’t seem to me to be a terribly difficult question.
And yes, to answer your question, I do care. I don’t want anyone to suffer. But my job is to deal in empirical reality, not hearsay. I’m sure you can understand.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 9, 2012

@Marie-Jane: I’m flattered you think I could have any influence whatsoever on what Colbert talks about. But here’s what I can do.

An earlier commenter noted that the Canadian government is in the process of studying the issue. If they find that wind turbines are a health hazard, you’ll consider the issue settled, right? And if that’s what happens, I guarantee it will be the lead story on Midwest Energy News.

Now – what happens if, like every other health agency that’s studied the issue, they find that the health claims are unsupported by the evidence? Will you accept those findings and move on?

By Ken Paulman on Nov 9, 2012

ah yes Mr. Paulman…journalists ask questions…the questions they want to ask…they frame the debate…do you realize that as a point of comparison, the Food and Drug administration will use its regulatory authority to pull a drug from the market if only 20 to 30 individual adverse impact reports are found, even if a drug has benefited many people. Apparently the FDA recognizes that it is wrong for a drug company to profit from something that makes people sick. If the FDA regulated wind turbines, they would shut down tomorrow and the shut down would last until the wind industry could show scientific evidence that they can be deployed/operated without harming people. Yet you put the onus on folks like Mr Funfar to prove his “hearsay” is real…I understand phelps contention that you are adding to Mr. Funfar’s distress…it is well documented…I believe there is an abandoned home down in Falmouth, Ma…forget about the Canadian study…or any other study…I suggest a visit to the abandoned home for yourself…let’s cut to the chase, shall we? waiting for “studies” is yet another stall tactic…experience the reality…sort of on the idea of a war correspondent…trust me your skepticism would be forever changed…

By truth matters on Nov 9, 2012

Mr Paulman…your words:And yes, to answer your question, I do care. I don’t want anyone to suffer. But my job is to deal in empirical reality, not hearsay. I’m sure you can understand.

“empirical reality” arrives on your desk how exactly? I invite you out of your office and into the field…where what you call “hearsay” in any other field would be evidence…perhaps not conclusive evidence for your purposes…BUT evidence enough to know that you really do not need to question the “victims”…there experiences are valid as you will feel…
When you say you understand, honestly, my thought is you are being condescending…please try harder to be on the side of public health and safety…families are hurting…and your quip about “hearsay” (especially after multiple years of adverse impacts) smacks of being dismissive…not nice!

By truth matters on Nov 9, 2012

I’m not being dismissive. All I want to know is what disease the man was diagnosed with, and how the wind turbine caused it. If it’s so cut-and-dry, why can’t anyone answer that simple question? I’m completely willing to cede the point if someone can show me the proof.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 9, 2012

Ken Paulman,

NO…………NO, I would not submit to the Canadian study.
They have called a moratorium and I feel that we should recognize that as a call for caution. I feel that we should also call for a moratorium. We should and must conduct our own research: scientific, health, economic. You really are not understanding what you are “looking at”. You really are not realizing what is happening. You, who have written a blog about the speculations of Stephen Colbert must reflect, also, the reality of those who are suffering the effects of industrial wind turbine abuse. Your refer to it as a “disease”.

1. A pathological condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms.
2. A condition or tendency, as of society, regarded as abnormal and harmful.
3. Obsolete Lack of ease; trouble.

WHERE DO YOU, Ken Paulman, WISH TO START? There is testamony from around the world. There can be no scapegoats for this agenda; there can be no sacraficial lamb. You, Ken Paulman, must explain why it is acceptable to ignore universal complaints. Fixate off of and resolve not to be complicit in the industrial turbine agenda and research alternative energy sources and resources and who and why there is emphasis on wind, a totally unreliable resource and technology. Why are you not questioning the “agenda”. I was totally for and smitten by those white “angels”. I took my family including grandchildren to the local industrial turbine thinking it to be “green”, knowing the technology to be my future, our future, until they “came to town” and I started to read about the reality and realized there were too many unanswered questions. Ask the local and state and federal supporters and those who totally and blindly buy into the “green agenda” to explain why they approve of this particular technology and no one can say specifically why. They know nothing about the health problems or potential for, for the hazards or the potential for, for the safety issues and potential for, or the economics and the potential for losses not benefits. The people must know the answers and receive the guarantees that there are not health issues, safety issues or economic negatives to the industrial wind turbine agenda. Do you, Ken Paulman have the answers; are you willing to supply them? The burden of proof is on you.

You may no have influence on what Colbert talks about, but get “loud” and let him know what Paulmn thinks about.

Good night (day).

I respond to you regarding the (your) following comment:
@Marie-Jane: I’m flattered you think I could have any influence whatsoever on what Colbert talks about. But here’s what I can do.

An earlier commenter noted that the Canadian government is in the process of studying the issue. If they find that wind turbines are a health hazard, you’ll consider the issue settled, right? And if that’s what happens, I guarantee it will be the lead story on Midwest Energy News.

Now – what happens if, like every other health agency that’s studied the issue, they find that the health claims are unsupported by the evidence? Will you accept those findings and move on?

By Ken Paulman on Nov 9, 2012

By Marie-Jane on Nov 10, 2012

Well, to be clear, the Colbert clip isn’t presented as some sort of expert testimony. It’s a satirical commentary on the issue. Frankly hadn’t occurred to me that I might need to spell that out.
If you read the earlier post that I linked to above, you’ll see that I believe that in some cases, noise from wind turbines can cause sleep disruptions and/or stress, which can in turn lead to other health problems. However, being annoyed by something is not the same thing as being sickened by something.

But I’m willing to submit to science (not anecdotes) that alters that conclusion.

My question for you is, is there any amount of data that might cause you to question your conclusion?

By Ken Paulman on Nov 10, 2012

Jerry Punch, PhD, and Audiologist with MSU, was asked by the state of MI to form a panel to study whether or not wind turbines cause human health problems. Science was applied and lo and behold, the last draft report sent up to the State said that wind turbines DO pose a hazard to human health and the adverse health effects are real. Not surprisingly, Dr. Punch and others who had copies of the draft report were asked to destroy it, and destroy any other emails or evidence to support the findings. And…..the Panel of scientists was disbanded. Dr. Alec Salt, an independent researcher from Washington University in St. Louis is doing some interesting work on low-frequence and impulsive noise associated with industrial wind turbines and the effect on mammals. He reports that the cochlea and other soft tissues in the inner ear swell – which causes pain. We know that bats, another mammalian species, suffer barotrauma when they get near wind turbines. Their lungs break down and they hemorrhage to death. A study done by the University of WI-Madison shows that they force is enough to cause the bones in their wings to shatter as well. We are mammals but we have a larger body mass so we do not suffer the immediate effects, but over time, if exposure to that same trauma is severe, our soft tissues will also break down. The wind industry ignores actual science and instead, believes perceptions are reality. You know it’s a great lie when you can get people to fool themselves! The USFWS released a report with science collected from two MN wind sites. There is a 47% loss of raptors where industrial wind is installed: so says the science. The wind industry would say there is no proof that wind turbines kill large numbers of birds. They say this because they know that when a 7 ton blade spinning at 70 miles an hour hits a 4 gram bird there is as much left of the bird as there is of the bug when it hits the windscreen of your car.

This is an industry built on perceptions, not science. If this was built on science instead of perceptions the industry would not exist as study after study shows that these monstrosities do absolutely nothing to stem global climate change, which means the faux environmentalists promoting this nonsense are wasting tax money on technology that doesn’t work instead of using that money to find real solutions. What’s that old saying, “If you think the problem is bad, wait until you see our solutions.”

By Mary on Nov 10, 2012

Here’s a link to the MSU report Mary is referring to. Hardly earth-shattering.

Now, could we see the evidence of the conspiracy to keep it under wraps?

By Ken Paulman on Nov 10, 2012

You say, “But I’m willing to submit to science (not anecdotes) that alters that conclusion.”

You ask: “My question for you is, is there any amount of data that might cause you to question your conclusion?
By Ken Paulman on Nov 10, 2012″

My answer to the question: There is no data that might cause me to question my conclusion.

I fully appreciate that the Colbert piece is satirical. However, the Industrial Wind Turbine Agenda is quite serious and must be taken seriously and when satirized, must be countered with the seriousness of the issue and, I hope people will continue to write and that Mr. Colbert
gets the message that it is seriously not funny.

Below are some statements regarding “annoyance”, a for real medical term. And, there are reams more information regarding “annoyance”.

“Annoyance: A degradation of health
By rwrand, on March 10th, 2011
During my discussions in rural communities of the effects of noise on people, I’ve noticed some confusion and misunderstanding about what annoyance produced by noise impacts really is. I relate below an excellent explanation including a quote from Dr. Alice Suter, one of the most important contributors to our modern understanding of acoustics and noise effects on people.

I notice that “activity interference” and “disturbance” are more easily understood by people here in the US.

So the next time someone attempts to minimize, laugh off, or suggest that annoyance is not a medical concern… you will know differently.

The word annoyance is often misinterpreted by the general public … as a feeling brought about by the presence of a minor irritant. … in the medical usage it exists as a precise technical term and defines annoyance as a mental state capable of degrading health.

Suter (1991) presents a formal definition of annoyance:

“Annoyance has been the term used to describe the community’s collective feelings about noise ever since the early noise surveys in the 1950s and 1960s, although some have suggested that this term tends to minimize the impact. While “aversion” or “distress” might be more appropriate descriptors, their use would make comparisons to previous research difficult. It should be clear, however, that annoyance can connote more than a slight irritation; it can mean a significant degradation in the quality of life. This represents a degradation of health in accordance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of health, meaning total physical and mental well-being, as well as the absence of disease.”



ScienceDaily (Sep. 8, 2012) — The World Health Organization recently recognized environmental noise as harmful pollution, with adverse psychosocial and physiological effects on public health. A new study of noise pollution in Fulton County, Georgia, suggests that many residents are exposed to high noise levels that put them at risk of annoyance or sleep disturbance, which can have serious health consequences. The research is published in the October issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Does it not seem that “annoyance” is a real health concern and as such needs further scientific research and does call for a moratorium on industrial wind turbines until industrial wind turbines are proven beyond reasonable doubt to have no health or safety consequences? Yet, the agenda moves forward and as long as the government continues to implement the “agenda” and not give credence to the growing research proving industrial wind turbines to be hazardous to the health and well being of people, then this must be considered human experimentation at the hands of the government. This is a world wide epidemic.

I attended the Human Rights Conference in Falmouth, MA today. I wish you and Mr. Colbert had been there.

Have a good night.

By Marie-Jane on Nov 10, 2012

Love to see Lisa Linowes commenting, with her massive ties to astroturf-funding, undiversified fossil fuel companies. She’s funny.

By Mike Barnard on Nov 10, 2012

Thank you, Mike, for the Lisa Linowes link. There is one response by Jim Cummings and all who go to the site MUST read it. He sums up quite nicely all the concerns we all have. I would add one more small paragraph and that is that until all the questions are answered that humans are no longer used as living guinea pigs (when you don’t understand why negative happens, that makes sense) and there be a moratorium on the industiral wind turbine agenda and that the PTC be eliminated.

Please read: One Response to Lisa Linowes and the Disinformation of Industrial Wind Action Group
Jim Cummings, Acoustic Ecology Institute says:

August 14, 2011 at 10:19 am

By Marie-Jane on Nov 11, 2012

One quick note, when we arrived at the Human Rights Conference in Falmouth, MA yesterday copies of “The Standard Times of New Bedford”, November 10, 2012, greeted the participants.

The Standard Times of New Bedford is the first US newspaper to do a story on the recently published study “Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health” by Nissenbaum, Armani, and Hanning, published in Noise & Health. The story appeared on the front page above the fold. Please check out the following:
“Study finds physical, mental health effects from wind turbines |”.

By Marie-Jane on Nov 11, 2012

“There is no data that might cause me to question my conclusion.” Thank you, Marie-Jane, for your honest reply.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 11, 2012

Hi Ken, have you made that reservation yet to hole up in the recently abandoned home in Falmouth, Ma? The idea, of course being, to collect your own “data”…bogging down in the swamp of trying to find competing data that only succeeds in stonewalling truthful conclusions…so much stonewalling going on…in direct opposition to what I now consider to be “overwhelming anecdotal evidence to return a verdict of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”…the guilty verdict is of course that public health is seriously compromised by industrial wind turbines sited too close to residents homes…Ken, I urge you to get out of the muddy swamp of not enough data…the data is in Falmouth, Ma…as in so many other communities across the globe…do I have to say “pretty please?!?”

By phelps on Nov 11, 2012

@phelps: I’m familiar with the Falmouth story, and it doesn’t contradict anything I’ve said on the matter here or anywhere else. People have abandoned homes because of airport noise, too. That’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t mean that airplanes make people sick and should be banned. Do you understand the distinction?

By Ken Paulman on Nov 11, 2012

To be clear – I agree that wind projects should be sited appropriately to minimize their impact on landowners. But this idea that wind energy should be banned until it can be proven that it has zero impact on anyone anywhere is ridiculous. No form of energy production is held to that standard.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 11, 2012

Ken Paulman, are you suggesting that even though we know that wind energy is causing and can cause severe health problems the Industrial Wind Turbine Agenda should just move forward and steam roll over people until and while the proper scientific research is completed and we know what proper distances are and until we know the physical damage that low frequency noise is capable of? That approach seems quite inhumane.

A moratorium is not a ban; it is a temporary action which will enable all involved to perform the research necessary to make certain that each and all turbine installations will not have negative health impacts. Europe has had them for years, as has the west coast, Texas, Iowa, etc., comparatively speaking the realization about the human health toll is recent and cannot be ignored, but the knowledge exists and we cannot knowingly cause additional pain and suffering. Your airport noise comparison is not the same issue. Airport type noise (I have a lot of it) is not the same, it has different elements different accoustics. There are scientific studies which make comparisons between various types of noise including airplane; the information is available to you; you might rethink the comparison.

It is not the wind that is making people sick; it is the machine, the 62-ton, 50-story vibrating, noisy (in ways not totally understood) white elephants making people sick. And, think about it, wind is colorless, odorless and a beautiful element in and of itself. The “machines” in question are anything but. I have to believe that in this country a zero impact on all is not ridiculous and must be a mandate. Industrial Wind Turbines are not a one size fits all technology, there are too many variables and the amount of research being done is minimal. If you think about it in pharmaceutical research terms, it would have never made it to the market or have been whipped off the market within the first few victim complaints if it had. If you agree that wind projects should be sited appropriately to minimize their impact on landowners (in our part of the world our house lots are on average 5000 square feet to possibly 26,000 square feet; some newer subdivisions may have acre lot zoning); we are packed in like sardines in some locations. From what I can see in your part of the world, the homes are fewer and spaced farther apart but the industrial wind turbines are being packed in like sardines. Big country; much to be thought out; moratorium is necessary until it is planned properly. Coal, oil and gas are never going away, solar, hydro, like wind, have a bright future. And, we have no idea what new and wonderful energy technology is being conceived as we agonzie over and plant haphazardly these “machines”. You really must ask yourself why the industrial wind turbine agenda is being pushed so hard and subsidized so heavily and who benefits financially and why at the expense of humans; no one is expendable; no one can be the sacrificial lamb for what some might think is the greater good

By Marie-Jane on Nov 11, 2012

actually Ken, getting away from the very important topic of health impactst…since you bring up “standards”…perhaps you could consider this angle (there are so many moving parts to this topic)…there are new standards/restrictions for certain energy sources that indicate that there is a complete disconnect in current energy policy…specifically as to who can do “what” to our treasured natural resources…consider the “road rule”:
an excerpt: Colorado officials are making an intense final push to establish their own rule for managing the last roadless national forests in the state. It would allow some roads for industrial development — including the expansion of coal mining and ski resorts — and for removal of beetle-killed trees near communities.
Conservationists say this is intolerable kowtowing to special interests.
According to a Federal Register notice, the Obama administration will decide next month between the state rule and a legally buttressed national rule. The state rule would restrict road-building and tree-cutting on about 4.2 million acres. The national rule bans roads on 4.4 million acres of the 14.5 million acres of national forest in Colorado….
At stake are relatively pristine public forests valued by companies poised to extract and export minerals and by recreationists who benefit from keeping them wild. Biologists have determined that roads, even when temporary, can lead to degradation of forests that serve as national watersheds by enabling incursions and fragmenting habitat.

President Bill Clinton established a national Roadless Area Conservation Rule in 2001 amid concerns that development was eroding forests. Federal land managers had permitted more than 100,000 miles of roads in national forests.”
Ken, I do believe this is part of the equation you have yet to unravel and or discuss…for coal and gas exploration the “road rule” restricts the access to pristine wilderness areas BUT the “road rule” does NOT appear to apply to the myth of some renewable energy projects…they are exempt from the razing of our pristine forests to accomodate new “roads” in New England when “industrial wind development” is in question…WHY the disconnect? Protection of our rural landscapes when oil and gas exploration is in question is a priority, BUT…as far as wind development…no similar restrictions…WHY?

By phelps on Nov 11, 2012

Ken…nice try with the airport analogy BUT…#1 the people lived in these neighborhoods long before the turbines came along…most folks who live near airports CHOSE to move there…a huge distinction…also…airports power down at night for several hours…the turbine project in my area powers up at night when the ambient sounds quiet down…therefore they invade the area and UNLIKE airports create a turbulent and repetitive sound…to those livng near turbines…the airplane never takes off!!!! Good Grief Ken you are trying my patience and so obviously coming up with every “wind talking point”…”I live near an airport so yo should suck up the turbine I just stuck in you nieghborhood and by a fan or air conditioner” (actual quote from a wind developer who has the most negligently sited turbine in the entire company…Ken, I invite you for a personal tour! Do take me up on my offer…I’ll pay for lunch…

By phelps on Nov 11, 2012

sorry Ken, sticky keys…the wind developer in my area…once his turbine became operational and the “complaints” began told the first to file a complaint as her family was unable to sleep at night due to the “noise: ( for point of reference… the nearest homes to this 460 ft above surrounding grade turbine are 600 feet away…downwind! for the most part…my friend’s home is 900 odd feet)…the developer told my friend he lived near an airport…she would get used to the sound…and perhaps she would consider buying fans and airconditioners to “deal with” the disturbance”) does that strike you as OKAY?…mu friend did buy (with her own hard earned money air conditioners, they sucked more noise in…making the noise issue more profound)…also…do you understand when living near an airport the plane takes off…when living near an industrial wind turbine the plane does NOT take off for hours at a time…my friend’s children need their sleep…they have to function at school, they have to study at home while these new planes hover over and inside their home…Ken, you have no idea what is gong on here…you appear to marginalize at every opportunity…and at the same time say you care…do me and my friend a favor…know what it is you say you care about…trust me, it has nothing to do with “living near an airport”…grrrrr

By phelps on Nov 11, 2012

No, Marie-Jane, we do not “know that wind energy is causing and can cause severe health problems.” We know that people are reporting a wide variety of symptoms and blaming them on wind turbines. Correlation is not causality.

I get that there are people who don’t like living next to wind farms (I grew up about a mile from the largest coal plant in Nebraska, so I can sympathize). That annoyance may lead to any manner of stress-related symptoms. But, as I’ve said before, being annoyed by something is not the same thing as being sickened by something.

Once more, for emphasis. Being annoyed by something is not the same thing as being sickened by something.

Three days of rhetorical pat-a-cake and no one has presented me with a single diagnosed disease and accompanying explanation of how it was caused by a wind turbine. How much longer do we want to keep doing this?

By Ken Paulman on Nov 11, 2012

Also: “I have to believe that in this country a zero impact on all is not ridiculous and must be a mandate.”

Have you met the people who think that transmission lines make people sick? Shall we shut down the lines feeding electricity to your community until we can make certain that each and every one of them has zero negative health impacts?

By Ken Paulman on Nov 11, 2012

@phelps – I didn’t say or mean to imply that wind farm noise and airport noise were the same. I was making a point about causality.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 11, 2012

ken…you insist on diversionary tactics…red herrings…and false narratives…i do believe your stance could very well be explained as follows: trying to reason with those that refuse to listen (or engage in fact finding of their own) is much like administering medicine to the dead” The way I see it is you are the one playing “patty cake”…. is that your term to marginalize the invitation to Falmouth Massachusetts…
You have now entered the last refuge of wind push back…zero tolerance…trying to make those that want to, right here and right now, want to protect public health and safety from the negligence of siting wind technology to close to residents homes (as you agreed to several posts back) seem they are being too conservative…well Ken…let’s take a step back into the time and place where you showed a modicum of agreement to public health protection…. Rick James, acoustic engineer…in responding to the Mass wind turbine health impact study (aka as junk science study) said this:
“We do not regulate other pollutants to a “0” tolerance position”
(just what you, Ken, are implying is the problem those that have posted on this thread have done…therefore we are, of course, unreasonable…after all you grew up near a coal plant…previously stipulated to …which, is so wrong…a distraction to be sure…please I ask you again…do not point to one wrong to justify another…yet you persist)
When Mr James, acoustic engineer, discussed the setback considerations in responding to the Mass Wind Turbine Health Report, said…
“2 kilometers does NOT seem to be a zero tolerance position…5 kilometers or 10 kilometers does…we DO NOT regulate other pollutants to a 0 risk level because it becomes too hard to justify the broad impact of such limits…We might want ZERO heavy metals in our drinking water, or ZERO NOx in our air, but it may not be possible to get enough support to do it…the same applies to wind turbines…if we have to pick a distance for setbacks instead of evaluating each project for noise impacts (which is my preference), we need a limit that protects MOST PEOPLE and includes some mechanism for those who are more sensitive to be RELOCATED at the cost of the utility operator”
So, Ken, you have yet again raised a very misleading argument…no one here is advocating for zero emissions but you in your summation of what is being describes…WHY…well to marginalize those of us that are advocating for public health and safety…your pushbacks should be traded in for investigative journalism…you have been invited…you shrink from the invitations…and push what you call “patty cake”…could you have your mom call me?

By phelps on Nov 11, 2012

@phelps – As I’ve said several times, I’m all for responsible siting. What I object to is the conflation of noise sensitivity, or however one wishes to describe it, to a “syndrome” or disease, because the evidence, at least so far, does not support that conclusion.

Also – I don’t mean to disregard your invitation. I’d love nothing more than to spend some time on the Massachusetts coast. It’s just not a practical possibility for my organization. But we do have lots of wind farms out here – I’ve seen and heard turbines up close, so it’s not as though I’m looking at this purely through an abstract lens at my desk.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 11, 2012

Folks, I think if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that this conversation is officially going in circles. Phelps and Marie-Jane in particular, thank you for your passion for the issue and your willingness to engage in an open and spirited discussion.
Feel free to contact me any time if you have new information for me to consider, and please take the last word on the comment thread if you wish to do so.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 11, 2012

Annoyance is a medical term. People are annoyed by industrial wind turbine noise and people get sick. I believe for your purposes, we will call any illness that occurs from exposure to industrial wind turbines. Industrial Wind Turbine Disease.

Like “phelps” I, too, feel that each project ideally should be individually noise tested which should bring us to the zero impact I feel can ideally be accomplished. If we do not aim for zero, the end result will continue to be whatever the whim of the developer happens to be.
There are too many unanswered questions (obviously for both sides), but you must err on the side of caution otherwise, this agenda is human experimentation. I do believe you should visit Falmouth, Scituate, Fair Haven, sites in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and, Forest, Wisconsin. Aruba, where they have more sunny days than days in the year (think solar), they are fighting a very substantial wind farm. What is wrong with this picture?

Jim Cummings, Acoustic Ecology Institute makes a lot of sense (this from Lisa Linowes referred to above). There are more noise reports coming out every day.
August 14, 2011 at 10:19 am
I’m glad to see that you didn’t list noise concerns as being a false claim. For many of those living and speaking up about the downsides of living near wind farms, the turbines’ noise is the biggest problem–moderate noise, yes, but often the loudest thing in a quiet rural soundscape, and therefore experienced as a drastic impact on quality of life. As someone who strongly supports the expansion of wind energy generation as a key part of the “many slivers” approach to reducing greenhouse gas output, I can’t help thinking that a decade from now as many renewable technologies mature, we’ll look back and wonder what we were thinking in placing this these towering machines so close to homes. There are still plenty of places in the “wide open west” (and in ranching communities where the noise isn’t experienced as such an intrusion) where wind farms can be built without transforming local landscapes and soundscapes in ways that disrupt the lives of a quarter to half of the nearby neighbors. For now, this type of wind turbine is one of our only utility-scale carbon-free options (acknowledging that manufacture and constructions has a modest carbon footprint); the way forward is to simply keep them a bit further from homes. How far? Aye, there’s the grey area….a half mile is clearly a bit too close to homes of people who especially treasure their rural soundscape; it’s common to hear of noise issues out to kilometer or so. There are rarely serious noise issues beyond a mile, though in some terrain it may be that this too is cutting it close, especially as turbines grow and produce even more low frequency noise, which travels the farthest. We’ll probably be seeing a period of slightly larger setbacks, and from this we’ll learn a bit more about community responses to the somewhat reduced noise around such projects. For ongoing more nuanced coverage of noise-related issues with wind farms (and noise-related environmental topics), see

Have a good night.

By Marie-Jane on Nov 11, 2012

I am trying to identify my frustration this a.m. I believe it can be expressed in a single question:
What is considered to be a significant enough number of “victims” to warrant an investigation of the negative impact a technology, in this case industrial wind turbines, has on humans as it relates to health, safety, economics?
Thank you for this “forum”. There is so much good information available to, if nothing more, give cause for pause. And, not unlike the number of “victims”, how much information and by which group of experts will be enough for pause and investigation of the industrial wind turbine agenda?
Please link to and read the following.

Have a good day.

By Marie-Jane on Nov 12, 2012

There was (and is) lots of money to be made on the tobacco industry, and in the beginning the gvmt urged us all to smoke. Now look at the cigarette packaging! Our gvmt also use to invite us to watch atomic test explosions, whoooeeee! With all the smoke surrounding these industrial turbines, we know there’s a fire. How big? Only more scientific studies will divulge that, but the wind industry is afraid of the results, hence all the protesting. Can’t blame them. They stand to lose billions of our tax dollars when their scam is uncovered.

By Penny Gray on Nov 13, 2012

In reference to the “impressive” list by Simon Chapman on claims against wind turbines: Before anyone believes anything this man says they ought to examine his ways of science. I give two of many possible examples below:

Chapman says that “wind turbine opponents” claim that wind turbines cause: “yes, many deaths” (number 49 on his list). Yet the source that Chapman quotes not mention this in regards to wind turbines, but KNOWN hazards of vibrations and low frequency noise documented by Portuguese researchers over the last 30 years. See: The author of this article, Max Whisson, also happens to be an innovator in renewables including other wind turbine models…

Also check out Chapman’s choice to list “palpitations”, “health palpritations” [sic], and tachycardia three times, and then “sleep disturbance” “night terrors” “sleep, babies wake at night” “waking up suddenly” as distinct claims. Can anyone see much difference in these two groups of claims?

By George Papadopoulos on Nov 14, 2012

Ken Paulman on Nov. 13, I asked: “What is considered to be a significant enough number of “victims” to warrant an investigation of the negative impact a technology, in this case industrial wind turbines, has on humans as it relates to health, safety, economics?”
Please answer that question.
We go around in circles, because no one has chosen to stop and listen.
Please read the article referred to in the George Papaonpoulos comment.
A year has come and gone since the article suggested by George Papandopoulos was written. I had not read it before. It is a must read for those in favor of and those against industrial wind turbines.; it gives each and all much to ponder summarized in straight forward and logical terms: It gives the best reasons for calling a moratorium on the Industrial Wind Turbine Agenda and to end the PTC (Wind Energy Production Tax Credit) and for performing the proper research regarding health and safety issues related to industrial wind turbines and waiting for the results. In the meantime a National Energy Plan, including all energy technologies can be formulated. The states/locations that are appropriate for each of the renewable energy reseources will, with proper research, emerge. Some states may be more appropriate receptors for hydro and solar phovaoltaic, and others, wind, oil, gas and, yes, coal and nuclear. Others may not qualify for any, but would be excellent locations for research and development. And none of this at the expense of human quality of life, health or safety.

By Marie-Jane on Nov 14, 2012

It’s a moot question, Marie-Jane. It’s been investigated numerous times and continues to be investigated. I understand that the findings are not to your liking, but that doesn’t mean the question isn’t being taken seriously.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 14, 2012

Ken Paulan,
It is not a moot question. It deserves an answer. Pretend it is a question about a drug, controversial surgery, additives, automobiles and not industrial wind turbines. The question I asked: “What is considered to be a significant enough number of “victims” to warrant an investigation of the negative impact a technology [in this case industrial wind turbines] has on humans as it relates to health, safety, economics to make it worthy of further study or removal from the marketplace.
There are two sets of “findings” and we, obviously, stand on opposite sides and I err on the side of caution and perfecting BEFORE implementaton. That is not so with or expected from the Industrial Wind Turbine Agenda people; they get free money (your and my tax money) and plant them and leave town; we all want to save the planet; but, it can never be at the expense of human kind; don’t you get the feeling that the city and town fathers can’t answer serious questions about industrial wind turbines and health and safety issues or the true economics of the installations and just write a free pass to the developers and really are not representing the best interests of the “town folk”. And, the question is not being taken seriously. Ask Mr. Colbert. I believe that is where this all started.

Have a good night.

By Marie-Jane on Nov 14, 2012

How many cases? I don’t know the answer to that. That’s a question for an epidemiologist. My point is that it’s misleading for you to imply that the issue isn’t being investigated.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 15, 2012

Ken Paulman.
As a person (personally) what do you feel would warrant stopping a project, not necessarily industrial wind turbines, if it were your spouse, your child, your parents, your best friend, your neighbors, your neighborhood, your city who was suffering; what then, is the number?
If the issue is questionable to the point of being “investigated”, then why does the Industrial Wind Turbine Agenda steam roll forward. Moratorium is necessary to get this right for once and for all BEFORE the agenda is allowed to continue. There will be room for wind and for all other energy technologies present and future. Is there a problem with getting it done correctly?
The following just arrived in my “mail”.
Your View: Real science behind concerns over wind turbines FeatureHeadline |

By Marie-Jane on Nov 15, 2012

If someone I knew personally thought they were being made sick by a wind turbine, I’d encourage them to go to a doctor and get a proper diagnosis. Not to be crass, but because whatever symptoms they’re experiencing may have another cause or explanation. I’d hate to see someone suffering needlessly because their self-diagnosis turned out to be incorrect.

You’re engaging in sophistry with this “burden of proof” argument. It’s impossible to prove to 100% certainty that something isn’t potentially harmful.

By your standard, all transmission lines should be shut down because people believe they’re a health hazard and science hasn’t been able to completely rule it out.

Again, I appreciate your passion for the issue, but we’re still reduced to repeating the same points over and over again. I suggest we wrap this up and move on.

By Ken Paulman on Nov 15, 2012

The only issue I had/have with transmission lines was quite similar; proximity to homes. May not be able to prove something 100% safe, but how about 100% certain that they are 100% safe at a determined distance from dwlling places? That is not unreasonable; but, it also is not being done. It’s a wrap.

By Marie-Jane on Nov 15, 2012