By Zoë Casey
Belgium’s supreme health council (Conseil Supérieur de la Santé, CSS) – a scientific body which advises the government – has called for a “reflection” on the development of wind energy citing apparent health concerns.
The CSS would do well to note that an increasing body of evidence exists showing that there is no link between wind turbines and adverse health effects.
In 2010 the Australian Government National Health Medical Research Council concluded: “there are no direct pathological effects from wind farms and that any potential impact on humans can be minimised by following existing planning guidelines.” In January 2012 a study for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said: “there is insufficient evidence that noise from wind turbines is directly…causing health problems or disease.”
There are also a number of reviews of independent research and evidence that all conclude that wind energy is not harmful to human health. Meanwhile there are many more studies, some of which have been reviewed on this blog here and here.
As Robert Hornung, President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, put it: “wind has also been attacked by opponents on the grounds that it is harmful to human health. This is despite the fact that the balance of scientific evidence clearly shows that wind turbines do not adversely affect human health, and in fact, wind energy is broadly recognised to be one of the safest forms of electricity generation available today.”
Last year, the American Wind Energy Association, Australia’s Clean Energy Council, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, the European Wind Energy Association, the Global Wind Energy Council and Renewable UK said:
“As a responsible industry that has been delivering clean electricity for more than 30 years, we collectively continue to engage with experts in science, medicine and occupational and environmental health to monitor ongoing credible research in the area of wind turbines and human health…the balance of scientific evidence and human experience to date clearly concludes that wind turbines are not harmful to humans.”
The CSS does also call for studies into the health effects of all types of electricity production in Belgium. Recently the EWEA blog reported that coal-fired power stations cost the European Union up to €42.8 billion a year in associated health costs, find out more here.