Letter #1 re Simon Chapman’s “study”

From Chris Jelbart

Simon Chapman (Think healthy on wind farms, Monday March 18th) is not a medical doctor, but a sociologist who has specialised in fighting tobacco. This is his area of expertise.

He speaks out against people who feel genuinely ill and suffer genuine symptoms, and denigrates those who try to help through considered, serious and independent research.

Chapman quotes University of Auckland research as providing powerful evidence of the “nocebo” effect. He informs you that this research was of exposure to recorded infrasound, and to sham infrasound. He fails to inform you that this study was of 54 students exposed to 10 minutes of each. He fails to say how the researchers came up with the frequency of wind turbines in their recorded infrasound. Infrasound can vary depending the speed of the blades.

There may well be more noise complaints since 2009, but this can be attributed to the increased length of the blades and the size of the turbines. A 3 MW turbine produces significantly more sound energy in lower frequencies.

Chapman dismisses the findings of Dr. Amanda Harry in the U.K. in 2003, and of Dr. David Iser in Victoria in 2004 because of the size of the study groups. This was before the rise of his so-called anti-windfarm hysteria.

Dr. Iser targeted people living within 1.5 and 2kms of the Toora Wind Energy Facility. 25 questionnaires were sent out. Of the 19 replies, 8 respondents had mild or major problems – about 25%.

Dr. Harry targeted 39 people who had reported symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, disturbed sleep, stress and anxiety. They lived between 300m and 2kms from several windfarms in Wales, Cornwall and the North of England. 81% felt their health was affected, and 73% believed their quality of life was less. Dr. Harry also had evidence and correspondence from people in New Zealand, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands and U.S.A. who were similarly affected.

Perhaps Chapman – as a Professor of Public Health – should take heed of the World Health Organisation which states that health should be regarded as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (WHO-2001) Under this broad definition noise induced annoyance is an adverse health effect. WHO defines noise annoyance as “a feeling of resentment, displeasure, discomfort, dissatisfaction or offence which occurs when noise interferes with someone’s thoughts, feelings or daily activities.” (WHO-1993)

Anyone who cares to drive up to the Macarthur Wind Energy Facility and stop at various points around it WILL hear noise. For the nearby residents this is nearly constant – only the degree of that noise might vary. Sadly you will not hear the infrasound. That does its insidious work quietly.

If the wind companies, and Simon Chapman, are so sure of the “nocebo” effect they should be willing to back research into the spectrum of noise coming from these industrial turbines, and prove that these symptoms are all in the head. All we want is the proper research carried out by a team of totally independent specialists, qualified in their fields.

Chris Jelbart
Penshurst 3289

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Earlier this year on WA state wide regional radio, Simon Chapman said about cessation of smoking, that there was quite abit of “anecdotal evidence” around cessation of smoking. (paraphrasing) I find it incredible that when it comes to wind turbine illness anecdotal evidence has no part to play……hmmm, curious.

  2. Come on Chapman, we all know you read this, get off your ass and come and tell us all why you are right at a series of public meetings? Maybe then you could meet some of the effected people, that you have never met, even though you proclaim to be a expert!

  3. Professor Chapman wil not answer questions that shed poor light on wind turbines but would rather denigrate the great work of Dr.Laurie and Mr. Steve Cooper who do so with terrible consequences. He must sit all day seeing what he can say disregarding the studies done on what sleep deprivation does to hard working decent honest people. I wonder where he is connected to the wind industry?

  4. pete whichett says:

    Once and for all, wind farms create noise, the noise is worse at night, the noise causes disrupted sleep, sleep deprivation is very damaging, see the University of Surreys recent report into how hundreds of genes are altered in just one week of inadequate sleep, it does not take very much to realise just how sustained sleep deprivation will make people very ill, and can and will cause illnesses that can be life threatening and infact life ending. This is why so many Folk present with so many different symptoms because sleep deprivation will affect people initially in different ways. Sleep deprivation is the cause of many of the most major human accidents on record. Perhaps Professor Simon Chapman would like to tell us that the affects of sleep deprivation are all in the mind? The issue with infra sound is it can travel, over distances of up to 10kms. yes vans and other vehicles etc make infrasound, but you do not tend to have a van running outside your home all night long, not normally! The infrasound from a wind turbine is at a normally sustained level, infrasound does interupt sleep, and does cause the body to suffer poor sleep, and yes the research exists to show that, again sleep deprivation may very well be at the bottom of a lot of peoples problems. to say that what people are suffering is a Nocebo, is quite frankly unprofessional and very unpleasant without proper full research to back up such a statement. Sleep deprivation caused by the noise made by windfarms should be acccepted, wind turbines make such a peculiarly unpleasant noise. He is a Sociologist and surely is not in a position to know how to run valid experiments that need Scientific and medical evaluation?

    • not a truer word said, I live at Leonards Hill, Vic and the turbines are about 600 metres from my back door. Shame on you Hepburn Wind

  5. As far as Chapman is concerned…wind turbines turn credible, honest, intelligent, upstanding citizens, into lying, environment-hating, hypochondriacs. Amazing….. But what is even more shocking, is the way they claim it has turned lying, cheating, money-grabbing miscreants, into physical and psychological health experts. Kind of unbelievable….don’t ya think?

  6. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Chapman makes a big thing out of the complaints and conerns of people as being predominantly from ‘Anglophone’ nations completely ignoring other nations, such as Japan, Denmark, Germany, France and more. None of whom could be called ‘Anglophone’. He also in his paper leaves out that the French National Acadamy of Medicine put out warnings about Industrial Wind Turbines and possible adverse healthe effect in the early 2000’s.

    Which puts more on the list of what he fails to take into account. So much missed which is easily available for anyone to see. “There’s none so blind as those who will not see”.

  7. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    I’ll admit I’m not convinced windmills are a significant health threat to humans, but if people are going to doctors, there is a problem. It needs to be addressed, not ridiculed. Sound vibrations in air and earth are real, not imagined. Maybe these vibrations don’t matter. Maybe these vibrations matter to only a small percentage of people. The same goes for the shadows caused by the rotating blades. Of course, such cannot possibly affect people that are not in the visual proximity of such strobe phenomenon, but I like redundancy, so I will say again, if people think it adversely affects them, they should be taken seriously. Regardless, industrial windmills are not worthwhile. Windmills for main-grid feed-in are a fantasy that will be abandoned.

  8. If chapman had another brain it would be lonley.

  9. Old Ranga from Victoria says:

    A gotcha, I think. Thanks Chris.

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