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Wind Energy MAPLE RIDGE

Published on February 9th, 2009 | by Ariel Schwartz

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Are Wind Turbines Making Japanese Citizens Sick?



The idea that wind turbines can cause health problems isn’t new, but now a fresh crop of complaints is appearing in Japan. Asahi Shimbun reports that over 70 people living near turbines in the country have supposedly fallen sick due to a mysterious “wind turbine disease”.

Japanese residents are complaining of headaches, dizziness, and insomnia, and while no one is sure of the cause, the Environment Ministry suspects it has to do with low-frequency sounds produced by wind turbines.

Similar complaints have come from people living close to air-conditioning equipment and factory boilers— both of which also produce low-frequency sounds of 100 hertz or less.

The Environment Ministry is examining research showing a potential link between wind turbines and health in order to determine a plan of action. Japan currently has over 1,400 turbines.

Photo Credit: NREL

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • Boris

    Unbiased article my ass.

    For crap sakes, these are peoples homes. HOMES. You guys act like they should accept the sickness that’s moved in down the street because there are other things that create low frequency sounds. What about property rights and protecting ones family? Has society become so calloused

  • Steve K

    This picture is not Japan. They drive on the left side!

  • Steve K

    This picture is not Japan. They drive on the left side!

  • Brian S.

    We live with 50 and 60Hz hum from our AC electrical power on a daily basis, and have for all of our lives. Low frequency sounds aren’t a new thing, so why the health claims now?

  • Brian S.

    We live with 50 and 60Hz hum from our AC electrical power on a daily basis, and have for all of our lives. Low frequency sounds aren’t a new thing, so why the health claims now?

  • justin

    if it is a matter of low-frequency sounds, is there not a way to counter those noises with some kind of innocuous white noise? something akin to noise cancellation headphones maybe?

    that, or insulate nearby homes with acoustical tiles..

  • justin

    if it is a matter of low-frequency sounds, is there not a way to counter those noises with some kind of innocuous white noise? something akin to noise cancellation headphones maybe?

    that, or insulate nearby homes with acoustical tiles..

  • JT

    Of course this could all just be psychosomatic especially since in Japan something like 80% of the population believe that having fans on when you go to sleep can suffocate you and that personality is defined by your blood type.

    Don’t get me wrong Japan has come up with some great scientific advancements but I doubt this is one of them.

  • JT

    Of course this could all just be psychosomatic especially since in Japan something like 80% of the population believe that having fans on when you go to sleep can suffocate you and that personality is defined by your blood type.

    Don’t get me wrong Japan has come up with some great scientific advancements but I doubt this is one of them.

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