Australian Medical Association: A National Disgrace

Wasm_world_sleep_day -australian-sleep-society

Recently the Australian Medical Association (AMA) released a disgraceful position statement in relation to wind farm noise and health.

This is Dr Sarah Laurie’s cutting response.

AMA statement on wind farms and health

Sarah Laurie
14 March 2014

Dear Dr Hambleton and Professor Dobb,

I will be formally writing to the AMA Federal Council members on this matter shortly, but I just wanted to bring your attention to the fact that today is World Sleep Day, and that the rights of children to a good nights sleep are being abrogated by the failure of state and federal authorities to properly regulate environmental noise (including wind turbine noise pollution) and to ensure that the known harm from infrasound and low frequency noise from wind turbines is prevented by adopting safe noise pollution guidelines and actively enforcing them.

The AMA have just endorsed that abuse of the most vulnerable members of our communities with the position statement released yesterday, which is misleading, ignorant, and dangerously ilinformed. Your statement is available here, in case you are not aware of it :

Environmental sleep disorder is a recognised clinical sleep condition, and it is the major problem reported by wind turbine neighbours including wind turbine hosts and their families.

Definitive research was conducted by the US government funded SERI and NASA research project led by Dr Neil Kelley, which showed direct causation of symptoms including repetitive sleep disturbance from wind turbine generated impulsive infrasound and low frequency noise, in the 1980’s. The wind industry’s response to that groundbreaking research was to change the design of the turbines to reduce the generation of those frequencies, and then to ensure that the frequencies were not measured by any regulatory authority. Please see our explicit warning notice for more information:

In other words the global wind industry has known for years that wind turbine generated infrasound and low frequency noise can cause symptoms described by them as “annoyance” but which include sleep disturbance and a range of other symptoms which medical practitioners are increasingly referring to as “wind turbine syndrome”. The Kelley research was well known to the industry, and buried by them for nearly thirty years.

Please read our media release about World Sleep Day carefully, together with the material at the links below, especially the comments by 6 year old Sophie Hartke. . I know this information and our release is circulating around the United Nations in New York today, and that even members of the International Doctors for the Environment are starting to get concerned about this issue of child abuse from noise pollution so well illustrated by Sophie Hartke’s story.

What your AMA position statement has just done is endorse the ongoing abuse of children such as Sophie – and there are numerous Australian families in an identical situation to the Hartke’s.

I am sure that was not your intent.

The health damage from environmental noise pollution at night is not restricted to wind turbine residents – children and families living near CSG field compressors, gas fired power stations and coal mines are also being badly damaged. Children with disabilities and conditions such as autism are particularly vulnerable to the effects of low frequency noise. The Waubra Foundation have actively campaigned for full spectrum monitoring at all industrial noise generating sites where noise problems are reported – as you will see from our acoustic pollution assessment guidelines. The first edition of that document, endorsed by acousticians internationally, came out in May 2012.

The “nocebo nonsense” the AMA is so clearly supporting in this statement has been propagated by individuals with vested interests (ideological, political, and/or financial), and interestingly is only ever applied to the wind industry and wind turbine noise pollution.

Some of those conflicts of interest are starting to be exposed in Federal Parliament, with more to follow. (see )

You may be unaware that a product manufacturer (VESTAS) is using some health advocacy organisations and Professor Simon Chapman to push their denials of any harm from their product – despite having publicly admitted that harm ten years earlier. (see ) Imagine the outcry if cigarette companies, or James Hardie were launching global denial campaigns of harm with respect to their products. Both industries knew very well the damage their products cause but continued to deny it for years, and were supported by “experts” including health practitioners and public health academics. The same is happening with the wind industry.

As a former AMA state councillor in South Australia some years ago, I am aware that the AMA needs to be “across” many issues, however I am somewhat appalled at the ignorance of those who wrote this particular statement and urge the AMA senior office bearers to remove the statement immediately before it does any further damage to the AMA’s reputation, and do your own due diligence on this issue. It is not a good look for the AMA to be effectively supporting an industry which is knowingly harming people and lying about it, or silencing sick and vulnerable people with gag clauses in agreements with the noise polluters, especially when the NHMRC has recently said high quality research is required, (research which the Australian Senate also recommended in 2011).

To ignore even the recent findings of the NHMRC that ” there is consistent but poor quality evidence that proximity to wind farms is associated with annoyance and, less consistently, with sleep disturbance and poorer quality of life” and that there is a need for high quality research in this area as your position statement does, brings your organisation into international disrepute and may be embarrassing for both the organisation and for you both personally if not urgently addressed.

With respect to the hypothesis that scaremongering is causing the symptoms, please reflect that the very first Australian rural medical practitioner to alert health authorities and conduct his own research was rural general practitioner Dr David Iser, from Toora in Victoria, in 2004. David found that the reported health problems related predominantly to sleep deprivation and physiological stress, and our own field work strongly supports his conclusions from ten years ago. David is an unsung hero for the work he did 10 years ago, and is someone the Australian medical profession can be very proud of.

There is no research, conducted in the homes of those reporting the symptoms, which supports the “nocebo nonsense”. There is research indicating that it is wind turbine noise which is directly causing the reported health problems (the Kelley research from the 1980’s particularly, together with the more recent research in the US and Australia by independent acousticians such as Rick James, Rob Rand, Stephen Ambrose, Dr Paul Schomer, Professor Colin Hansen, Dr Bob Thorne, Les Huson and Steven Cooper.

I have worked closely with all these acousticians over the last three years, and to say they are appalled and disgusted at Professor Chapman’s conduct would be an understatement. However they understand that he has no medical or acoustical training. They will be even more appalled at the statement the AMA have just put out, because they will consider that “medical practitioners should know better”, and indeed have a professional obligation of a duty of care, and a longstanding obligation to “first do no harm”. In this instance, the AMA’s ignorance on this issue will do immense harm because it will be enthusiastically picked up by the wind industry globally. Unwittingly, the AMA then becomes one of those organisations which is enabling the abuse to continue. As senior office bearers, you will no doubt be held responsible.

You may also be interested to hear that the Irish Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Colette Bonner is sticking by her public comments expressing concern for those people who develop the symptoms of “wind turbine syndrome” and that recent research funded by the Ontario government, conducted by University of Waterloo researchers has confirmed that there is a dose response relationship between wind turbines and sleep disturbance, and symptoms of vestibular disorders including tinnitus and vertigo

Senior acousticians in America (even those who work with and for wind developers) have come to the same conclusion that wind turbine generated infrasound and low frequencies are affecting the vestibular system ( ), and neurophysiologist Professor Alec Salt’s work supports that and explains how the cochlea functions when stimulated with infrasound in a quiet background noise environment. (see )

This information and much more is available on our website, and I urge you to have a good look at it and inform yourselves properly about this growing and entirely preventable public health problem resulting from infrasound and low frequency noise pollution.

Alternatively, please ring or email Emeritus Professor Colin Hansen – the recipient of the only Australian Research Council Grant to investigate wind turbine noise. His recent comments to the misleading information on the Public Health Association of Australia website and the Victorian Department of Health report may help give you further background material : and .

I would be delighted to introduce you to Colin or any other national or international experts with direct knowledge of the severity of the problems being reported by the residents. I would also be delighted to facilitate you meeting with affected residents including those forced to abandon their homes, who will be grossly offended and distressed at the AMA’s position statement, but from whom you can learn directly what the problems are. You will soon find out that scaremongering is not causing their symptoms, and I hope will be appalled at the way they have been treated.

The PHAA have not changed the information on their website, despite receiving Colin’s informative letter (above), which comes as no surprise to us. I hope that the AMA does not adopt a similar “head in the sand” approach to this issue.

Sarah Laurie BMBS

baby in pain

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Jackson says:

    Sadly, this news doesn’t surprise me.

    Suffer little children – because there isn’t an authority in Australia with any clout who gives a toss – and if they did, they’d lose their ‘political clout’ quick smart.

    Why? Because the health hazards wind turbines are creating are actually excellent business for drug companies.

    And isn’t it funny how, with any public uproar over such issues, public scrutiny is almost always diverted, distracted or blindsided away from drug companies ?

    Why aren’t we asking, “who ultimately stands to gain the most in every situation involving health issues?”

    I think we know the answer to that.

    Those, ladies and gentlemen, are the real criminals we need to go after.

  2. Thanks Dr Laurie. The AMA says a lot of things both good and bad. It’s stance on climate change is political rather than scientific. While that is controversial, the blind acceptance that wind technology has no harmful effects must reflect an unspoken agenda.

  3. Not only do small children endure something they don’t and can’t understand, they have to live with Mum and Dad fighting for a normal life, with normal (quiet) sleep patterns, for the noise and turbines to go away. ‘Normal life’ has been stolen and childhood is impacted in ways that Mum and Dad don’t yet understand. Heck…the Government sectors responsible for public well-being don’t understand. Hang on, they do understand, it’s not nocebo nonsense, it’s not scaremongering, they do have access to “small” set of good quality evidence that some people, including children, are impacted by exposure to industrial wind facilities.
    Apology to the public or not, the suffering, the headaches, the exhaustion must end and I can barely wait for the problems caused by this mechanised neighbour and headache to conclude.

  4. Peter Kuhlmann says:

    If the AMA is not objecting to Dentists using Amalgam fillings with Mercury, or Vaccinations with Mercury, or Fluoride (Toxic Industrial Waste) in drinking water, how can we expect any credibility from these people?

    • Hang on a minute says:

      There is irrefutable strong cause- effect dose-response scientific evidence of adverse acoustic effects of wind turbines on human health and wellness, on the basis of the Kelley NASA research alone.

      The amalgam/fluoride/vaccine controversies are not comparable.

      What is clear is the ‘willing blindness’ of the AMA and others to this existing scientific evidence regarding the acoustic impacts on health from Industrial Wind. To the NHMRC credit they have recognised the need for further research in their recent ‘information’ statement, something the AMA’s string pullers appear to be seeking to undermine.

      Their resistance is futile. Like Toyota (who thought they could avoid the truth) and the fatal stuck accelerators which were lied about, then exposed and have recently paid out over a billion dollars in legal settlement, the wind industry and their ‘green’ psyco-phants are heading for a huge fall and financial pain.

      They deserve every penalty.

  5. Grant Winberg says:

    Thanks to Sarah Laurie, and many others, for the public condemnation of the AMA’s Position Statement, it is now not conceivably possible for the AMA’s members to say they did not know. It is up to the members to take their association to task. To speak out. To insist the AMA corrects the record. If the members do not do this they will be tarred with the same brush as their industry body – their representatives. Too late now to say they did not know.

  6. Doctors for truth says:

    The Australian Mendacious Association appear to have take their orders from the Climate of Fear and Health Alliance- they are willingly blind to the established and emerging science on adverse health impacts of industrial scale wind turbines.

    They are to be condemned for their contempt for medical ethics and total disregard for the health impacts experienced by affected neighbours of industrial wind factories.

  7. Reblogged this on Quixotes Last Stand.

    • The AMA have just become child abusers of those children that live next to the fraudulent fans. They are stopping children from getting a good nights sleep because of the infrasound and low frequency noise. It is a crime!

  8. The big boys and girls in the AMA, in their white coats, want to watch our they don’t get covered in $hit, by associating with that wind weasel scum. I thought that the AMA were people who are helping our doctors to keep us in good health, apparently not!

  9. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Sarah, thank you this is a well written clear expression of what those suffering and those with empathy for them are feeling about the AMA’s so called Position Statement.
    I will quote from the literature review prepared for the NHMRC preliminary report ‘…there was no evidence identified that considered health effects or related non-health effects (e.g.
    annoyance) could be due to expectation effects, or nocebo effects (negative placebo effects) (Häuser, Hansen & Enck 2012).’
    Surely this shows that the AMA’s position statement and those like Simon Chapman are doing nothing of any value to medicine. The ‘nocebo’ effect theory is debunked, and they should now step aside and not oppose full independent research into the adverse effects of Industrial Wind Turbine noise emissions. For too long this theory has caused some people’s attention to be diverted from what is important, and what the AMA should hold above all else and that is to explain and where possible eliminate the cause and reduce the effects of suffering.
    Hopefully others will now step forward and condemn the Association for their lack of judgement in even considering such a position, and will insist they print a retraction and explain their reasons for doing so.
    It’s possibly too far a stretch to expect Professor Chapman to also do the same. It takes a strong character to publically say their ‘research’ is bunkum.


  1. […] Australian Medical Association: A National Disgrace. […]

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