Diagnostic criteria for adverse health effects in the environs of wind turbines
By Robert Y McMurtry and Carmen ME Krogh
In an effort to address climate change, governments have pursued policies that seek to reduce greenhouse gases. Alternative energy, including wind power, has been proposed by some as the preferred approach. Few would debate the need to reduce air pollution, but the means of achieving this reduction is important not only for efficiency but also for health protection.
The topic of adverse health effects in the environs of industrial wind turbines (AHE/IWT) has proven to be controversial and can present physicians with challenges regarding the management of an exposure to IWT. Rural physicians in particular must be aware of the possibility of people presenting to their practices with a variety of sometimes confusing complaints.
An earlier version of the diagnostic criteria for AHE/IWT was published in August 2011. A revised case definition and a model for a study to establish a confirmed diagnosis is proposed.
Based on the authors’ experience, the following list provides an indication of the more common symptoms:
- Difficulties with balance
- Ear ache
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Problems with recall or difficulties with recall
- Enlarged heart (cardiomegaly)
- Mood disorder, i.e. depression and anxiety
- Feelings of distress
- Difficulty in diabetes control
- Onset of thyroid disorders or difficulty controlling hypo- or hyper-thyroidism