Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released a draft information paper concluding that ‘there is no reliable or consistent evidence that wind farms directly cause adverse health effects in humans.’
Quoting the paper, NHMRC's CEO Professor Warwick Anderson says, ‘There is some 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. However, it is unknown whether these effects are caused by the wind turbines themselves, or by other related factors.’
This newest paper follows a 2010 NHMRC study finding no scientific evidence that links wind turbines to adverse health effects. The draft paper is based on the findings of an independent literature review commissioned by the NHMRC, which says it used internationally recognized methods to select and analyze all available evidence.
"When Australian communities are genuinely concerned about the quality of their health, it is essential they have access to reliable advice based on the best-available evidence," says Anderson, who has invited public comments on the document and submissions of any additional evidence for consideration.
Clean Energy Council (CEC), an Australia-based industry association, says the draft position statement is "yet another tick of approval for the wind industry from the country's best health experts."
‘It is the role of health experts like the NHMRC to consider the scientific evidence on these issues and make recommendations, rather than the wind industry, or its opponents," comments Russell Marsh, director of the council. ‘That's why we welcome the public-consultation process and look forward to continuing to work with agencies like the NHMRC to inform our best-practice guidelines for wind farm development and community engagement, and ensure the industry can continue to operate in a responsible way.’
‘While there is mounting evidence that wind farms cannot directly cause health problems, the industry recognizes the need to make communication and community engagement a high priority when building a wind farm,’ Marsh adds.