ERIC Number: EJ932840
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 10
Properly Interpreting the Epidemiologic Evidence about the Health Effects of Industrial Wind Turbines on Nearby Residents
Phillips, Carl V.
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, v31 n4 p303-315 Aug 2011
There is overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder-type diseases, at a nontrivial rate. The bulk of the evidence takes the form of thousands of adverse event reports. There is also a small amount of systematically gathered data. The adverse event reports provide compelling evidence of the seriousness of the problems and of causation in this case because of their volume, the ease of observing exposure and outcome incidence, and case-crossover data. Proponents of turbines have sought to deny these problems by making a collection of contradictory claims including that the evidence does not "count," the outcomes are not "real" diseases, the outcomes are the victims' own fault, and that acoustical models cannot explain why there are health problems so the problems must not exist. These claims appeared to have swayed many nonexpert observers, though they are easily debunked. Moreover, though the failure of models to explain the observed problems does not deny the problems, it does mean that we do not know what, other than kilometers of distance, could sufficiently mitigate the effects. There has been no policy analysis that justifies imposing these effects on local residents. The attempts to deny the evidence cannot be seen as honest scientific disagreement and represent either gross incompetence or intentional bias.
Descriptors: Energy, Power Technology, Health, Epidemiology, Environmental Influences, Evidence, Policy Formation, Ethics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A