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Are wind and solar farms safe for my health?
Yes. Independent peer-reviewed studies conducted around the world, including the U.S., have consistently found no evidence that wind farms cause any negative physical health effects.
An important notation about peer reviews, and why they’re important. The peer review process is a form of scientific quality control.
- Scientists subject their research to the scrutiny of other experts in the field (peers)
- Two or more independent experts in the same or similar field consider the scientific method, results and conclusions.
- Reviewers are usually anonymous, are not paid for their review, and must not have any conflicts of interest in relation to the research.
"There is no authoritative evidence that sound from wind turbines represents a risk to human health among neighboring residents." - Wind Turbines and Health, Iowa Policy Project, 2019, including Peter S. Thorne (Professor and Head, Dept. of Occupational and Environmental Health Director, Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, University of Iowa College of Public Health) and David Osterberg (Lead Researcher at the Iowa Policy Project and Professor Emeritus, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa).
"There is no direct evidence that wind turbines affect physical or mental health." - National Health and Medicine Research Council
"Components of wind turbine sound, including infrasound and low-frequency sound, have not been shown to present unique health risks to people living near wind turbines." - Wind Turbines and Health: A Critical Review of the Scientific Literature, Journal of Environmental and Occupational Medicine.
"To date, no peer reviewed articles demonstrate a direct causal link between people living in proximity to modern wind turbines, the noise they emit and resulting physiological health effects." - Health Effects and Wind Turbines: A Review of the Literature
“It’s natural to look for causes, and something that seems to be new in the environment is a natural conclusion to draw. But so far the evidence doesn’t support a causal association.” - Sandra Sulsky, study co-author and an epidemiologist at Ramboll, an international engineering consultancy company. -- PBS.org Nova Next article, "Can wind turbines make you sick?"
In fact, wind energy means healthier communities. Wind helps reduce our over-reliance on burning coal. Pollution from burning coal causes asthma and lung and heart disease.
Click here for a list of studies on health effects.
Solar energy does NOT produce harmful emissions, and has several health benefits when compared to fossil fuels.
Widespread solar adoption would significantly reduce emissions of harmful gases released by burning fossil fuels, including Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), and Sulphur Dioxide (SO2). Reducing these emissions deters a wide variety of human health issues and decreases the formation of smog and haze. Solar power also results in fewer cases of chronic bronchitis, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and lost workdays related to health issues.
Contrary to common solar myths about harmful chemicals, the materials used to make solar panels are sealed and contained so they do not negatively affect the surrounding area.
Solar panels contain a variety of materials, including silicon and different types of metals. All components are laminated and enclosed to prevent external factors damaging the functionality of the system; the materials within the panels cannot evaporate or mix with water to leak into the surrounding environment.
The only risk that could allow these materials out is through large fires at extremely high temperatures. With proper maintenance of solar arrays, this is largely preventable.