Another doctor speaks out

“The old saw that a doctor’s best teacher is his patient is true and   obviously  applicable here.

“From a purely clinical perspective I believe the  acoustic trauma produced by large wind turbines is real and significant.”

Written testimony presented January 31, 2013, to the Vermont Senate Natural Resources Committee concerning S.30, a bill to establish a 3-year moratorium on industrial wind development in the state — provided courtesy of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.


PO    BOX    10

EAST  BURKE,  VT  05832


Good  morning,  thanks  very  much  for  the  opportunity  to  speak  about some  clinical  observations    regarding     the    health  impacts  of  living  in close  proximity  to  large  wind  turbines.

My  name  is  Sandy  Reider …  since  graduation  from  Harvard  Medical School  in  1971  I  have  practiced  more  or  less  continuously  in  VT  in various  capacities,  most  recently  for  the  past  17   years  in  a  primary care  setting  in  Lyndonville.

In  the  brief  time  I  have,  I’d  simply  like  to  share  some  of  my  clinical observations    and    impressions    regarding  the  health  impacts  related to  living  near   these   turbines   and  leave  a   review  of  the available science  to  others  (parenthetically,  I  am delighted you will  be  hearing from Stephen Ambrose  because  it  was his  onsite Falmouth, MA  study   that  I  selected to pass  on to Commissioner  Chen  when he  came  to speak  in  Newark this past summer).

At  this  point  I  have  seen  6  persons  in  my  office  with  symptoms  that seem    to  stem    from these  turbines,    but  for    the  sake  of  clarity   and brevity,  I    will   describe    just    one   case    in   detail … keeping  in  mind that  the  symptoms  described    by    all  those    I  have  seen  are  quite similar and  characteristic  of  what  has  become  known,  somewhat euphemistically,  as  Wind  Turbine

This  was  my  first  patient  who  turned  out  to  suffer  from    this syndrome,  and  I  must  say  that  it  took  a    few  months  for  us  to connect  the  dots.     He  was  a  healthy  33  yo  man  who  I   had  treated for  several    years  and  knew  quite  well.  He  had  no  preexisting  medical problems,  took    no  prescription  meds,  was    happily  married  (no  children),  and  had  lived  in  his  home  for    several   years    before    a single    NPS  162    foot  wind    turbine    was    installed  in  the  late  autumn  of  2011,  approximately  1800  feet  from    his  residence.  At  the  time  of installation  he  paid  no  attention    at    all    to  the   turbine   and  had  no particular  feelings   about    it    one   way   or  the  other,    aesthetic    or otherwise.

About  3  weeks  after  the  installation    he  began    to  experience  quite severe  insomnia, something  he  had  never  dealt  with  before,  and  he had  no   clue   why.    He  worked  at  home  and  spent    most  of  his  days   as    well  as    all  nights    there,    unlike    his    wife    who    worked    in   Newport  and   was  gone    most  days.  He  complained  of  abrupt  waking 30-­40 times  a  night,  like  a  startle  reflex,  associated  with    some anxiety.  As  a  result  he  was  almost  never  able  to  fall    into  a   deep   restful  sleep,  very  distressing    for  someone  used  to  sleeping  soundly for  10-­‐11    hours  every    night.

screamAdditionally  he  developed  a  kind  of pressure  headache,  ringing  in  his   ears, and    slight   dizziness.    These  symptoms weren’t  constant  but varied  from    day to  day  (eventually    discovered    to    be   related    to   wind   speed    and   direction).    His    ability   to   concentrate diminished and  it  became  difficult  to   get  his    work  as    a  financial  advisor done,   as   well   as  feeling   irritable    and somewhat  depressed.

On    his  3rd  visit  over    6-­‐8    weeks   during    the    spring    of    2012,  he quite emphatically  declared  that  he    was   experiencing  something called  WTS.  At  the  time  I  inwardly  rolled  my eyes,  but  after conducting    some  research,  I  decided  it  might  just    be possible.    To test    this  hypothesis,    he    and    his   wife    went    on   a  3   week vacation,     and    within    1-­‐2    days  of  being  away  from    home, ALL  his symptoms  resolved.    On  return,  the  same  distressing   sensations  gradually    returned.    This  amelioration  when  away  was   confirmed dozens  of  times  … he  became  aware  that  when  the  wind  was coming out  of  the    north    or    northwest  he    was    particularly   affected,    and so  arranged  to  sleep  at  a  friend’s  house  on  those    nights …  Generally he  spent  3-­‐4    nights    away  from    home  throughout  the spring  and summer  of  2012,    and   on    those    nights    felt  and    slept well.

Interestingly,  at  no  time  at  home  did    he    actually    hear    any    noise   …  his    distress     was    likely    the    reflection  of  very    low   frequency sound/vibration,    sound    below    the   audible  range.    In   trying    to  compare  this  to  something  in  my  own  experience,  the  closest  image that  comes  to  mind  is     that    of  a    teenager  driving    around    in   the  spring    with  those  big    bass  speakers  in    the  trunk  of  his  car … a rhythmic  thumping  that  can  be  sensed,  and  felt,  from    over  a  block away,  while  the  rest  of  the  higher  frequency  musical  tones  cannot  be  heard  at  all.

Most  patients  have  complained  about  audible  noise  as  well  as  a rhythmic  flickering  shadow  as  the    turbine   blade    crosses    the    sun,  also    the    rhythmic  flashing    glare    from    the  reflection  of  the  sun  on    the    blades  (such  flickering  lights  are  known  in  the  medical literature  to  precipitate  seizures  in   susceptible    individuals  ),    and   these    are    of    course   significant,    but  I  have    chosen   to   describe   this    case    because    so    little    attention    has    been    given   to inaudible    low  frequency    vibration.     My   patient  was    fortunate,    he   and    his    wife    were    able  to  afford  to  abandon    their  home,  and  they are  now  living    happily    far  from    any  wind  turbine  and  feeling  quite   well.

doctor1As  I  said,  I    have    seen    5   other  individuals  with  similar syndromes, and  it  easy  to  imagine  how  this state  could  easily  presage  more chronic  illness  … depression, anxiety,    high   blood   pressure,   chronic headaches,  the  list  goes  on …   and  all  the  pharmaceutical drugs  that these  maladies  might   eventually    necessitate.      I    would be  concerned    for   those    whose   nervous   systems  are  sensitive and   vulnerable  …  infants  and small  children,  children  with  ADHD  or autism    spectrum    syndromes, and    constitutionally  nervous  adults.  I  know   you   will   hear  stories  this  morning  from    Vermonters  who   have  already    been  directly impacted.

The old saw  that  a   doctor’s    best  teacher    is  his  patient  is    true    and   obviously  applicable    here.

From a  purely  clinical  perspective  I  believe  the  acoustic  trauma produced  by  large  wind  turbines  is    real    and  significant,    and  that   this  makes  the  siting  of  these  turbines  especially    critical.

Keep  in  mind  that    the   turbine    affecting    the    person   I  described   previously  is    only    160   feet  high,    whereas    the    turbines     already   spinning    in    Lowell    and  Sheffield  are   about    450  feet    high,    and   those    proposed  for    the    Newark/Brighton/Ferdinand  project    are close  to  500    feet.    I   note    that    a    minimal  setback  of  1  mile  from   the  nearest  residence  is  specified  in    S.30  ,    but   due    to    the    great   variety  of  atmospheric  conditions    and   geography    in   VT,  who knows  if  even    this  is    adequate?

Also,  I  was  surprised  that  in  the  bill  there  is  no  specific  mention    of  effects    on   health,    though   “quality  of  life”  comes  close.  These  health effects  are  more  than  nuisances,  a  term    used  in  much  of    the literature  to  characterize  the  symptoms.  A    nuisance  might  be something  like  black    flies   buzzing    around  your  head,    whereas   these vibratory     and    acoustic    effects    are   something  else  altogether,    and describing  them    a  nuisances  seems  a  disservice  and  demeaning  to those  who  experience  them.    What    about    “chronic  vestibulo-­‐acoustic    trauma  syndrome”  …    we  certainly    need  better   science, and    more  study  is  needed.

I   believe  these  health  impacts  should  be  specifically  cited  in  the  bill, with  a  recommendation  directing  the  VT  Department  of  Health  to adopt  a  more  direct,    proactive  role    in   the  public    health    issues raised   by   these    huge   turbines.

I     fully    support    the    three  year  moratorium  on  all  industrial  wind development  as  outlined  in    the    current    bill,  in    order    to    try    to understand  more  clearly  the  sacrifices  we  are    asking    of   our  citizens   and    of    the  complex  ecology  of  our   sensitive    and    beautiful   ridge lines.

Thank  you.

Sandy  Reider   MD

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Siggi Macled says:

    The more I read about WTS from overseas sources the more concerned I become that the “science” being sold to Australians- that wind turbines are benign and create no atmospheric interference that might create illness in humans- the more convinced I become that the public is being shammed by the wind tower cartel.

  2. Reblogged this on Quixotes Last Stand.

  3. DR Sandy you are on it, and it is a pity that the South Australian Government has turned a deaf ear & blind eye on the issues that the residents around the wind farms have to put up with.

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