Wind turbine syndrome – an inconvenient truth

“Based on my recent experiences and interactions with such affected individuals, I am satisfied that this WTS condition is real. This conclusion of mine is based upon both hearing the stories of affected individuals and being aware of and having access to the limited yet growing scientific body of evidence highlighting this deleterious syndrome. This syndrome is not, in my view, a psychosomatic illness or a nocebo effect.”

November 2, 2012, Senate Inquiry Submission

Peter Trask, psychologist, Bendigo, Victoria.

I support the proposed amendments to the Renewable Energy Act (Excessive Wind Farm Noise 2012).

artWhilst there is much unknown about why people are becoming unwell in the environs of large industrial wind turbines, anything which increases the transparency of the wind industry with respect to actual noise emissions will assist with better understanding of the dose of sound energy being received by the residents.

At present it is my understanding that the noise and wind mast data is not made available, and therefore it is impossible for the residents to know what they are exposed to, or whether the wind turbines are compliant with state government noise regulations.

The consequences of non payment of renewable energy certificates in the absence of evidence of compliance would seem to be appropriate, given the gravity of the known effect of excessive noise on human health.

Practitioner observations throughout human history, well-intentioned, innovative, creative, insightful and determined individuals have been ridiculed, sometimes demonised and often criticised for discoveries that challenged institutionalised behaviour and the related contemporary beliefs and and/or theories.

art painIt was not necessarily that these people were wrong but rather that they revealed what Al Gore more recently popularised as being ‘an inconvenient truth’.

To this very day, this condemnation of such ‘messengers’ continues and as history demonstrates, we have not always learned well from these experiences of the past.

Indeed, vested interest of times past and now use many means to deny, deflect, avoid, distract and resist those individuals and groups revealing such emergent discoveries of ‘inconvenience’.

I believe that this process of obfuscation is now occurring in Australia regarding those affected by the so-called ‘wind turbine syndrome’ (WTS). Presently in Australia there is a quite vicious and dismissive attitude toward those people allegedly being affected by WTS.

Rather than seeing such people as akin to the ‘canary in the coal mine’, they are dismissed as misguided, disingenuous, dishonest or mentally unstable.

Of course, for those so affected, this vilification compounds an evolving trauma experience, and as a leading neurosurgeon recently said, what is worse than people disliking you is when they dismiss you.

As a practising psychologist, I have only recently become aware of this WTS first-hand, although for some years I have had some peripheral exposure, via the mainstream media.

More recently however, I have met many individuals directly affected by WTS, and have had the privilege to be providing two individuals with psychological treatment and support.headpain

Based on my recent experiences and interactions with such affected individuals, I am satisfied that this WTS condition is real. This conclusion of mine is based upon both hearing the stories of affected individuals and being aware of and having access to the limited yet growing scientific body of evidence highlighting this deleterious syndrome.

This syndrome is not, in my view, a psychosomatic illness or a nocebo effect.

If this syndrome was primarily a psychosomatic condition, the genesis of the WTS would be rooted in inappropriate or irrational cognitive processing and my assessment of affected individuals elicits no evidence to support this.

Moreover, psychosomatic conditions require a level of conscious awareness of adverse stimuli to activate somatic symptoms in the body. Conversely, I believe that the WTS affects people at a sub-conscious level, creating somatic symptoms without a conscious (or cognitive) awareness of why.

Accordingly, this WTS is potentially a very insidious syndrome as the usual cognitive associations are not established till much later. At this later stage, psychosomatic responses may emerge, similar to people affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, but only retrospectively.

With regard to the nocebo effect (believing that one will be adversely affected in exposure to specific stimuli previously labelled as toxic or dangerous), the various theories of motivation ought to be acknowledged.

Clearly, motivation among humans is a complex phenomenon. Nevertheless, for those affected by WTS that I have met and treated, there is no plausible motivation-based explanation for why they would want to be sick nor expect to be so, based on their prior life and medical histories.

Furthermore, these are people who have possessed a very close affinity and love for their homes and locations, and so, have endured this syndrome for extended periods, and then in desperation, like environmental refugees, have had to leave their homes, with substantial regret.

I shall leave the scientific and/or neurological theories and explanations to the experts. Nevertheless, the existence of low frequency sound energy, produced by wind turbines, and inaudible to the human ear, may be the reason for this syndrome.

earWhile this low frequency noise or sound energy (aka infrasound) may be inaudible and thus not able to be consciously perceived by the human ear, it does appear that the ear’s vestibular system is still capable of perceiving the presence of this infrasound, and so send signals to the central nervous system for processing, in this case without the conscious awareness of the affected individual.

Despite this, it appears that this infrasound stimuli activates the automatic survival response, more commonly known as the fight/flight/freeze response. Consequently, somatic symptoms are experienced by affected individuals.

These symptoms include hyper-arousal, anxiety, racing heart, nausea, muscle tension, panic, concentration and attention problems, memory difficulties, and more. At night, these symptoms can lead to insomnia and sleep disturbance, and consequent stress and emotional instability in the waking hours.

On the basis that this syndrome is not a psychosomatic illness (in the first instance) or nocebo effect, relief for affected people may only be achieved by removing them from the environment apparently responsible for catalysing their symptoms.

Dialogue with affected people provides anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of this approach.

Sadly however, chronic exposure to infrasound over an extended period, may more permanently alter the neurological state of affected people, and in such cases, we observe trauma-like symptoms among this cohort.

In my opinion, this is a serious health issue affecting a relatively small number of people in rural areas only, and so they lack the critical mass to adequately advocate for their rights.

inquiryVested interests, including government, business, environmental groups and communities want wind energy generation to be accepted and propagated across our country. Nonetheless, it is incumbent on governments at all levels to ensure the safety of fellow Australians.

To this extent I appeal to the Senate of Australia to investigate this health issue, to allocate funds to undertake further research into the apparent WTS, and to consider a moratorium of further wind farm development until adequate and robust research is concluded and analysed.

In the meantime, I would also ask that our elected representatives listen with open minds and hearts to those people currently substantially and chronically affected by a health problem that remains poorly understood.

Senate Submission 2/11/2012

Effects of Wind Turbines on Health

– Peter Trask

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. And who owns all the subsidised AU wind farms? Overseas interests and Australian Unions, that’s who.
    . All living off our taxes and and then handed out by the government..

  2. This is a world-wide windscam and it needs to come to a halt now. If they cannot place these things in an appropriate place, and in an appropriate manner, then they should not be used at all. Communities, are for people, and turbines should be nowhere near either of them.

  3. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Peter, said with conviction from a compassionate heart and educated conscience – if only those that make the decisions would listen.
    Harry, said with conviction from knowledge of where you live and why it’s what it is– a place of beauty, tranquility belonging to where it is. Said with the conviction of knowledge of the destruction, both physical and emotional, that will occur if such inharmonious changes are allowed to proceed. Said with the conviction of knowledge that not only human but the whole environment will be lost, if something we are told will save it but know will not, proceeds.
    If only those that make the decisions would listen.
    Thank you to you both.

  4. Harry Makris says:

    Cambrai….where the great battle was Won…..1917/2013

    Why am I here……why are we all here…….

    We are here to make sense of what is happening ….why wind farms are such a divisive issue…
    Why some people chose to defend themselves from this intrusion equivalent to home invasion.. ….and others don’t…..

    ………the answer to that is…..that some of us accept the responsibility of facing this threat to basic human principles…. The right to challenge the precepts of imposed change……… to safeguard the wellbeing of those directly affected….and that of the State
    The proposed wind farm here in Keyneton has already divided this community….gone are the days where we shared our common joy or sadness …

    ……or stood shoulder to shoulder at the fire front until victory……
    ….. or held back those tears at the funeral of a young suicide…..the product of a culture out of touch with the planet and with no apparent meaning………

    ….. and now we are here……in an attempt to determine the merit of this proposal….. and to make a recommendation to the minister….who has the final say…..That’s good…!!!!

    …. our job…… our job is to protect the future…. the true wealth of this land… and its potential….. the people here in Keyneton …(even if some don’t know it yet)……and beyond …

    ………and why Keyneton …you must understand that those who have chosen to live here have…have over the past 40 years……made those sacrificial efforts to restore a stressed and ravaged landscape to a position of health…..pro bono…without charge….basically Love…

    Do you ever do Love Jobs….? This is a Love Job……

    …..Yes we used the words Green….Self-sufficiency….Solar….and yes… the word wind…..all in the search for a deeper meaning in regards to future of our Planet……and this was Long before the words Green and Sustainability became politically and financially exploitative …..

    ……….. the results of these efforts are clear and substantial… a restored landscape which is an inspiration…the forests you see as you approach Keyneton… from any direction… which were never there are now…. teaming with life ……

    ……have you seen the Keyneton hills from the aspect of Jutland road over- looking the river Somme … or Barren Hill…or Mt Eagle…….. you should…..there are so many places here where the Spirit of the place will connect with you…..

    ……..Spirit…Yes…I will use the word Spirit……all of you must know…..

    ……when you see those amazing landscapes that hold you in awe…..that touch a deeper part of your reality……beyond consciousness….your soul….

    …..I understand that through legislation…..the visual amenity has been deleted from any consideration on this matter……THIS LEGISLATION has Attacked my Eyes….

    …………when you live on the land it is all about the eyes….the slightest movement on a hillside raises an alert….peripheral vision is finely tuned…..that’s the way it is…

    …….we are incredible life forms….with senses …..sight.. hearing ….smell….. which absorb and process information…to acknowledge either Beauty or ruin…or the command to action…….……..and as light has a visible spectrum…..you cannot see infra-red…or ultra violet….or X rays….yet we all accept the dangers of exposure….that is because….. we now understand that light has unseen frequencies….

    ……..so to with sound……the ear……where the balance is maintained… without which you are doomed to crawl……the ear….where all Sound is registered together with its unheard frequency ….. infra sound……the effects of infra sound have been known for decades…..and have been weaponised to create the exact effects of which many people complain……all over the world…….

    …………. Of course we all know that in the natural world infra sound is used for communication by whales ….transmitting messages across hundreds of kms……through water….
    …… we also know it travels better through Rock……..Keyneton wind farm will be built on Rock

    ……….it’s not about volume…..it’s about frequencies ….. or vibrations if you like…..which stimulate and activate all aspects of the biological form……………

    ……then there are instincts….why do the hairs on your back stand up for no apparent reason…Feelings…?…….or why does a frequency so confuse your instinctive senses …that your adrenal gland is activated to a “fight or flight” response……. and you wake bolt upright in bed with your heart racing…….Your whole body vibrating…..Pray you never experience that…

    …….Shall we go further and talk about electromagnetic RF frequencies which are also part of the light spectrum and are produced by generators……..RF frequencies can be picked up directly by the fine electrical circuitry of the brain…..that’s where you think….or think you think…

    ……..mind recognition of RF frequencies is also a known phenomenon ……so much so that that technology has successfully duplicated the telepathic effect using these frequencies……and developed psycho-tronic weapon systems

    These machines do all this as a by-product of their operation…….these machines are big….They are relentless killers of the occupants of the air…and the pulsed output of the sound and electromagnetic frequencies cannot help but impact on any exposed bio-forms…including us….!

    I have had three years to think about this…….see how the company has responded to this community…..I have made comment …as others have…. on the accuracy of the “industry standard” regarding the visual montages which form a major part of their presentations….especially poignant in the “light” of the elimination of “visual amenity” as a legitimate concern…..Unbelievable….You want me to be blind…..sorry ..can’t do that….

    ………then came the State-wide wind-farm DPA amendment to give the industry and communities more certainty…. but instead …only managed to attack democracy at its core….I cannot be blind to that either……nor were many others… as the DAC submissions reveal

    I’ve spent my time in the corporate world…specifically marketing and public relations…I find that the approach taken by the Legislators and the Industry regarding community concerns…. Borders on the dismissive for obvious reasons…self-interest/contractual fear …
    …………… but is in fact….an important opportunity lost….

    …If I were a CEO or a Department Head I would have ”Called In” the Show long ago…… as some politicians of conviction have already demanded…..by way of a moratorium on further development…..until a considered Energy Plan is developed…..

    …..So…. in the light of all this upheaval and wasted energy…I have just one simple question……

    What are we trying to do here with these wind farms,..?

    It seems….all that has been achieved….. is to successfully Stigmatize communities which have a wind farm in their view……and entrench the losses which accompany that reality……and that’s from whichever view one wishes to take…sorry no list….you have
    heard it all before…ad nauseam..

    Yes …We are here ..not only to oppose this proposal and other proposals in this state……Proposals which are based on an obviously flawed strategy regarding the well-being of communities…
    ……but we are also here to help you present a considered and comprehensive response to the minister

    Let me help you……

    … We have had enough……We do not want to do this again at every wind farm application……

    Everyone has had enough…Even Big Wind….and I believe the DAC has had enough…….

    What would make me happy….. is to see the DAC step up to the plate and let the minister know…with all the tools available to the DAC………….. that the party is over with this wind farm policy…that the call for a moratorium is the correct course until a new Energy plan is developed

    We can do this today…..make the decision …to alter the precepts of the Future

    ……some may think that Big Wind is too big to fail…..
    ……or………Too big to stop……..

    Yes…..there are those who will scream ……But then….they are the ones …who are in it for the Money…

    Of course it will be political….turmoil even….but restoring democracy always was…….
    And right now…..I’m ok with that……

    …. Because the well being of the People will always take Priority….and that is the mission of the DAC

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