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Health risks of wind turbines remain up in the air - more research pending

A group of researchers in Finland studying the possible health risks associated with wind turbines say that - so far - they've found no evidence that the wind-harnessing energy-makers cause health or environmental problems. However, the research team plans to resume further study on the topic in the autumn.

Tuulimyllyjä Saksan Sieversdorfissa.
Wind turbines have been blamed for health symptoms ranging from migraine headaches to cognitive dysfunction. But a group of Finnish researchers say that - so far - they have found no evidence that wind turbines cause health problems. File photo. Image: Patrick Pleul / EPA

The internet is filled with testimonials and social media posts from people claiming that wind turbines are the source of a variety of health and environmental problems. There have also been a number of scientific studies published on the topic, as well.

Based on the data that Finnish researchers have gathered so far, wind turbines are not harmful to people or the environment, according to an ongoing study carried out by Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) .

The STUK and THL researchers say the point of their study was to examine the possible health effects or environmental impacts of modern windmills.

The researchers measured sound levels in areas close to wind turbines, and found that the infrasonic levels [sound waves which register below the frequencies audible to humans] were just about as high as in urban areas.

So far, the researchers say they've failed to find evidence that wind turbines produced infrasonic levels which would damage health, but the team added that it's considering further examination of the subject.

The researchers said additional research about the health effects of wind turbines will resume in the autumn.

After the study is complete Finnish lawmakers will prepare legislation about which types of renewable energy systems will receive state support.

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