THEY may look harmless, but the increasing amount of wind turbines freckling hills and skylines around the central west may be doing more harm than good.
Insomnia, nausea and headaches are just some of the health complaints slowly being brought to the surface by people living near wind farms.
Dr Sarah Laurie,who has done extensive research into the health effects of wind turbines in rural communities, spoke to residents around Blayney on Wednesday night about her findings.
Residents and land holders were particularly interested as they face a proposed $200 million wind farm being built in the Flyers Creek area across 16 properties.
“I am not anti-wind, but there’s a problem,” Dr Laurie said. “You can’t ignore the fact that people are getting sick.”
The sudden and unexplained common symptoms presented by those living up to 10 kilometres away from wind farms include nausea, headaches, sleep deprivation, tinnitus, panic attacks and high blood pressure.
Children are also presenting unusual symptoms including waking with night terrors and sudden bed wetting, despite having gone years without wetting the bed.
Residents report they can only solve these problems by leaving the area.
Dr Laurie said that medical practitioners, wind turbine companies, and the government can no longer ignore the evidence linking wind farms with negative health affects.
She believes infrasound waves that are inaudible to humans are responsible for the health problems.
“There’s a stimulation of the nervous system, and I think this is from the infrasound,” she said.
“[People] can’t really protect their homes from it because they are very penetrative.”
Although infrasound waves occur naturally, Dr Laurie believes it’s the pulsating nature of the sound waves as the blade passes the tower that is mainly responsible for the health problems.
The Senate has launched an inquiry on rural wind farms and their health effects.
Over 1000 submissions have been made so far.
Dr Laurie is hoping the inquiry will prompt the government to investigate the issue so it is better understood and preventative strategies can be taken in the future.
“It is acoustic pollution,” she said.
There are no regulations stating how far a wind farm can be from a residence.
Infigen Energy, the company behind the proposed Flyers Creek wind farm, did not provide the Central Western Daily with a comment.