Michigan Capitol Confidential
By Michael McGrady | Jan. 25, 2019
Dizziness and nausea are just two symptoms
An audiologist affiliated with Michigan State University has weighed in on the harms of a proposed wind farm development, on behalf of an Ohio veteran who was diagnosed with vertigo and other service-connected disabilities.
Jerry Punch, a professor emeritus in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, submitted comments opposing the wind farm to the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, which approves new energy projects in the state. He did so on behalf of James Dillingham, who lives roughly 60 miles southeast of Toledo in Scipio Township. In his comments, Punch voiced his concerns over low-frequency sound emitted by industrial wind turbines, commonly known as infrasound. According to Punch’s research, the turbines used in wind farm developments can have negative effects on a person’s mental and physical health.
“Large wind turbines generate infrasound, which is not normally experienced as sound by most human listeners,” wrote Punch and co-author Richard R. James in a 2016 study. “Some people, however,” they continued, “experience it in the form of pathological symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, or motion sickness, which appear to be caused by the excitation of resonances inside closed structures and the human body itself.” Punch echoed these claims in a letter to Ohio’s utility regulators.
“The World Health Organization states that individuals who are most vulnerable to the detrimental effects of environmental noise are the very young, the elderly, and those with chronic health conditions,” Punch wrote. “Certainly, Mr. Dillingham falls into the latter category, and his concerns deserve special consideration,” alluding to the veteran’s several physical and mental diagnoses. Punch also told the utility commission that he wished to evaluate whether the proposed Seneca County wind farm would harm Dillingham.
“The purpose of my letter was to indicate my concern that he receive individualized consideration during Seneca Wind’s application process,” Punch wrote in an email to Michigan Capitol Confidential. “It was not my intention in my letter to single out veterans as a group, but rather to indicate that persons with vertigo and related pre-existing symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, nausea, and motion sickness are vulnerable to worsening symptoms following exposure to wind turbi [CONTINUE READING HERE]