The NHMRC: Australia’s Great Shame

Well – knock us down with a feather – if things didn’t just get a whole lot worse for wind weasels and their highly-paid apologists.

A few posts back you’ll remember the wind weasels’ pinup boy, Russell “Rusty” Marsh tossing up a whale of a tale.

When faced with research done over 30 years ago – which unequivocally linked low frequency turbine noise to health impacts suffered by nearby residents – Rusty spun into action and spruiked that – comparing modern turbines with turbines from the 80s is like comparing “iPads” with “Ataris”.

It’s what STT now calls the “Atari defence”.  Thanks Rusty.

Following on from that story – Graham Lloyd from The Australian rounded up Neil Kelley, the author of the 1987 study in which he and his team of bright boys and girls from leading American academic institutions proved the link between low frequency noise and the health complaints made by neighbours of a single fan in North Carolina, USA – the subject of this detailed post.

Funnily enough – Neil – the principal scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratories Wind Technology Centre for 30 years – and smarter than brain pie – wasn’t prepared to swallow Rusty’s rolled-gold “Atari defence”.

Neil and his gang went on to do further research on modern wind turbines right up until 2011.  In dumping a bucket on the Atari defence – Neil told The Australian that:

“We found the majority of the physics responsible for creating the annoyance associated with this downwind prototype are applicable to large upwind machines.”

Which brings us to the STT poser of the week: why was it that Australia’s peak medical research body, the NHMRC failed to pick up research of obvious relevance, importance, scope and quality – and include it in its disgraceful 2010 Rapid Review?

Kelley’s work wasn’t that hard to find, our research team picked up the reference to his book as a footnote in the 1987 paper.  Now – our research team is a likely bunch of lads and lasses, but they are more at home poring over the form guide, backing winners and swapping barbeque recipe tips than swotting away in dusty libraries.

research team

STT’s research team knock back a few well deserved ales –
after digging up the most significant health research in 30 years.

****

The NHMRC – on the other hand – is headed up by a bunch of people who claim to be the leading medical research boffins in the Country – the “M” stands for Medical and the “R” stands for Research.

So where were they on this one?

Now suspicious types might look at those who made up the NHMRC group responsible for the 2010 whitewash and find just one or two clues as to why its Rapid Review was more “Rapid” than “Review”.  A “Review” that is – of anything but the relevant and available literature.

Was it undisclosed pecuniary interests?  Was it working for firms or institutions that profit very nicely from the wind scam?  Was it professional conceit and arrogance?  Was it greentard ideology?  Or was it just plain old incompetence, sloth and sloppiness?

We’ll let STT readers be the judge and jury.

But the giveaway could be in the title: “Rapid”.

Just why obscene haste was necessary is beyond STT.  Precisely what was the urgency?

There was no sensible reason to rush to print with something that was clearly half-baked.

Unless – of course – the NHMRC members – or their benefactors – had already written the conclusion they wanted.  A “conclusion” which just needed a bit of “padding” thrown underneath it so they could get it out there to head off a growing public backlash from badly affected communities around the Country.  Maybe that was the urgency?

No point spending time polishing up a “wind-wash” – publish and be dammed, as they say.

As a work claiming scientific merit it was – of course – execrable.  As Senator Chris Back put it at the National Rally:

“As you all know, in 2010, the NHMRC – the National Health and Medical Research Council – made a public statement there is currently no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects.  That remains today on their web site and I think that is a scandal.

The approach taken by the NHMRC reminds STT of a particularly well-dressed white rabbit who had a teensy-weensy obsession with time.  That bumptious bunny drove everyone batty by running to the clock.  There never really was any point to his endless rush to meet and beat the clock – which was just the point that Lewis Carroll sought to make.

White-Rabbit-Close-Up-4-2-10-kc

I’m late, I’m late for a very important date – to bury highly relevant research.

****

Over to Graham.

Newer wind turbines could be just as harmful as prototypes
The Australian
Graham Lloyd
24 July 2013

MODERN wind turbines could cause the same health impacts for nearby residents as an older prototype rejected by the industry because of proven concerns, says the author of a 1987 study that established the link.

Neil Kelley, who presented the findings of a comprehensive study prepared for the US Department of Energy to the renewable energy industry 25 years ago, said in-home testing of low-frequency noise from wind turbines was the only way to establish the truth.

The wind industry in Australia has rejected the findings of the 1987 NASA study because the type of wind turbine studied was no longer in use.

The study used laboratory simulations to prove a link between low-frequency noise from the older-model wind turbines and health impacts. It found the impact of low-frequency noise generated by wind turbines was often “confined to within surrounding homes” and that residents became more sensitive to the impact over time.

The National Health and Medical Research Council is conducting a review of its guidelines on whether wind turbines can cause health concerns.

Leading public health officials have said publicly that reports of ill health are the result of a “nocebo effect”, with symptoms caused by apprehension about possible dangers.

Mr Kelley, who served as the principal scientist (atmospheric physics) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s National Wind Technology Centre in the US from 1980 to 2011, said research had shown it was possible for modern wind turbines to create “community annoyance”.

“Many of the complaints I have heard described are very similar to those from residents who were exposed to the prototype wind turbine we studied.”

He said the original research was performed to understand the “totally unexpected community complaints from a 2MW downwind prototype wind turbine. “While follow-on turbine designs moved the rotors upwind of the tower, the US Department of Energy funded an extensive multi-year research effort in order to develop a full understanding of what created this situation.

“Their goal was to make such knowledge available to the turbine engineers so they could minimise the possibility of future designs repeating the experience.

“We found the majority of the physics responsible for creating the annoyance associated with this downwind prototype are applicable to large upwind machines.”

Mr Kelley said the 1987 study revealed it was the low-frequency content of the turbine noise and its impact on the homes that was responsible for the annoyance of the residents involved. “It is similar to the noise and vibration that occurs when a heavy truck rumbles past a house with the windows closed,” he said.

“The house walls filter out much of the higher frequencies and leave only the low-frequency sounds and vibrations.”

In Australia, the wind industry has been reluctant to conduct in-house testing despite a Senate recommendation it be done.

Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has argued in a submission to the NSW government that low-frequency noise from wind turbines not be measured.

Mr Kelley said if low-frequency noise from turbines did not influence annoyance within homes, “then why should (the industry) be concerned?”
The Australian

Why should wind weasels be concerned?  Fair point Mr Kelley – why indeed?!?

STT has already put up a few sound commercial reasons why wind scammers are concerned.  And it’s just a matter of time before the current state of corporate knowledge comes back to bite them – in much the same way well documented knowledge of health risks came back with a vengeance in the asbestos and tobacco capers – and led to legal liability to victims running into the $billions.

And STT notes the mention of the NHMRC undertaking yet another literature review.  This time around there is simply no excuse for not including the work done by Neil Kelley and the crack team he led for over 30 years in the States.

The results of Neil Kelley’s work confirm – without a shadow of a doubt – that what is being reported by people from Waterloo to Waubra, Macarthur to Cape Bridgewater, Lake George to Cullerin – is perfectly explained by the impact of low-frequency noise generated by giant industrial wind turbines.  Moreover, that research – which describes impacts in identical terms to those reported today – slaughters the complete scientific nonsense of the so-called “nocebo” effect.

The failure to refer to – let alone to even identify – that research in its Rapid Review is a matter that the NHMRC should be utterly ashamed of.  Excluding it from any future publications will surely warrant criminal investigation – starting with abuse of public office.

STT says that at some point in the very near future there will be a Royal Commission.

One of the topics for review at the hearing of that Commission will be the tentacle like grip the wind weasels have had over certain aspects of political life and over certain academic institutions.

The NHMRC’s conduct – so far – makes its members likely to be amongst those in political and public life who will be called upon to front the Commissioner and explain themselves.

shame

Commissioner – please accept my humblest apologies for missing the
biggest piece of research ever done on turbine noise and health.
Please, please, please, please.

****

Saying sorry won’t cut it.  Although ribbons of shame can’t hurt.

This is a group of highly educated people who are placed in a position of GREAT public responsibility – responsible – that is – for public health.  Australia deserves a whole lot better than what they have dished up so far.

STT was brought up with the line about always being ready to give people the benefit of the doubt – you know – that old “forgive and forget” lark.

Well here’s a golden opportunity for the NHMRC to redeem itself – no EXCUSES this time.  Despite what mummy taught us – STT never forgets.

angry elephant

You had your chance.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Noel Dean. says:

    This has been well known to anybody with reasonable hearing for quite some time.

    If one stands at about 20 or so metres from the base of the turbines one will hear 2 sounds – one is a short quick sound as the blade passes the tower, and the second sound, the main one, is a swoosh.

    This swoosh is formed as, on the downwards swing, air is compressed, and this air is moving slowly compared to the air at the top of the arc. The intensity of the swoosh varies with wind shear and can be often worse overnight at wind farm sites. The swoosh is the prime cause of low and very low frequency sounds in conjunction with very bad turbine blade design and wind farms designed by fools.

    The NH&MRC Rapid review was done after it was made public that there was evidence of non compliance at Waubra. It seems somewhat strange that Professor Simon Chapman was a peer reviewer in the 2010 Rapid Review, despite not being an Acoustic Expert nor a medical trained Health expert. He then deceived the public by spruiking this Review, without disclosing his role – the work of a wind farm weasel right enough.

    Noel.

  2. I wonder what Simon Chapman thinks of all this? After all he was the main man doing the so-called research.
    Absolutely no credibility.

  3. Jackie Rovensky says:

    The NHMRC has done itself and researchers who conduct themselves in an ethical and extremely conscientious manner a great deal of harm over this whole topic. What drove them to think they could get away with such deception is beyond me and no doubt many others. That those responsible are paid from our taxes to undertake research and assessment to ensure nothing like the tobacco debacle can happen again is nothing more than fraud on their part.
    To all those ethical and honest researchers – keep up your good work, and to those unethical ones YOU WILL BE EXPOSED.
    To reporters like Lloyd keep up the good work, you represent an era of reporting that has in recent times been buried.
    To so called ‘social scientists’ – keep out of the way, you are only fogging the issues, you are not doing anyone any good – only your ego’s and pockets. Society is made up of human beings who respond to things as individuals, so cannot be ‘lumped’ together to fit neatly into your paradigms of behaviour. Leave scientific research to those trained in their specialised areas, and accept you are limited by your choice of career.

  4. Reblogged this on shelliecorreia and commented:
    Same game all over. The wind weasels are predictable, if nothing else.

  5. Grant Winberg says:

    As STT says, those responsible for the reckless and negligent abuse of office and power, and those being rewarded in the course of that abuse, will be held to account. And in National Health and Medical Research Council’s case, to continue to reflect their astounding error on their website, they are clearly not apologetic and are running with their line regardless of the abundance of contradictory, publicly available research material being unearthed by those not paid by government or those with a pecuniary interest in concealing the truth.

  6. bringiton says:

    The willing blindness of researchers, industry, NH&MRC and politicians over the adverse acoustic impacts associated with IWTs is breathtaking. All in the name of politics and profits. And peddling Green mythology as electoral strategy.

    No less than a Royal Commission and prosecution of abusers will do.

  7. Terry Conn says:

    Time to start a dossier of names and addresses of those in public office and in the industry that will get writs served on them for ‘negligence’. They should all be served at the one time.

  8. Let’s see how they’re going to get out of this one…
    Good stuff S.T.T.
    Thanks to all the Team.

  9. I want to know how anyone could even think that you could fake this misery.

  10. Fantastic………just what we need for the Bodangora Planning Assessment Commission meeting on the 29th July.If anyone wants to register to speak or just register to show your concerns of the wind industry you can by emailing your name to pac@pac.nsw.gov.au by 1pm Thursday 25th.

  11. I thank the authors of STT for their very eloquent connections. Also Graham Lloyd for his willingness to gather some history of note, and put the connections on display for all. It exposes inconsistency and lack of expert review in our Government processes.

    My comment is to also question why we have a medical authority presenting determinations on experimental health effects, that will potentially greatly affect many in the community, yet they have not had to put their direction of investigation to any medical ethics council? Highly educated people who are placed in a position of GREAT public responsibility, with decisions connected to public exposure to health risk, but they don’t have to justify a single step in their investigation to ethicists? As part of a medical research team involved in such activities, I always had to work with this process. Do we have to also make this common sense validation of public interest law as well?

  12. Elephants never forget is the word.

    As a sufferer of infrasound, I need that research to urgently flow onto the medical profession so they can get some appropriate training about how to manage their patients who are suffering through this HELL in their own homes.

Trackbacks

  1. […] National Health & Medical Research Council (see our posts here and here and here). […]

  2. […] aren’t getting paid“; that: “modern wind turbines don’t produce infrasound“; that: “the NHMRC said that the evidence proves that there are no adverse health effects from wind turbines”.  And so on and so on …. […]

  3. […] to the relief of everyone (except the wind industry and its parasites) – STT hears that the NRMRC will have nothing to do with the work or the selection of experts – which will all be […]

  4. […] The NRMRC has been wearing “ribbons of shame” since it rushed to print with its selective, biased and incomplete literature review back in 2010. The very, very Rapid Review was so quick off the mark that it completely missed the decade of work put together by Neil Kelley & Co during the 1980s in the US (see our post here). […]

  5. […] In our post yesterday, we provided a pretty fair explanation as to why Australian wind farm victims – like Jan Hetherington from Macarthur – are more than just a little suspicious about the NHMRC having any meaningful involvement with the Coalition’s planned study on the impact of giant fans on neighbours’ health.  You see, the only piece of “work” that the NHMRC has produced on the health impacts of giant fans was its disgraceful 2010 “Rapid Review” (see our post here). […]

  6. […] our post a while back: “The NHMRC: Australia’s Great Shame” we tipped a stinking bucket on the NHMRC’s disgraceful 2010 Rapid Review.  A “review” […]

  7. […] associated with this downwind prototype are applicable to large upwind machines”.  See our posts here and […]

  8. […] we’re not talking about the twaddle dished up by the NHMRC in its “Rapid Review” – which pointed out nothing more than the fact that there has been no thorough investigation […]

  9. […] is no chance that our rotten little NHMRC will have anything to do with the health research proposed by the […]

  10. […] STT hears that the work will be done by a hand-picked crew – including the best of the best from overseas – and will have nothing to do with our rotten little NHMRC. […]

  11. […] But – as STT has observed before – the CEC speak with forked tongue. […]

  12. […] in general are also now acutely aware of the health risks and the harm caused by incessant low-frequency turbine noise, including infra-sound and the disastrous impacts on a large number of totally innocent people, […]

  13. […] that: “modern wind turbines don’t produce infrasound“; that: “the NHMRC said that the evidence proves that there are no adverse health effects from wind turbines”.  And so on and so on […]

  14. […] rock the World after STT’s recent research coup that dug up a pile of highly relevant work which our pathetic little NHMRC failed to find – or – perhaps – simply buried as an “inconvenient […]

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