Research Topic

Wind turbines and human health: The issues fueling the debate

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Public attitude is generally overwhelmingly in favor of wind energy, yet this support does not always translate into unanimous local acceptance of projects. Opposition groups point to a number of issues regarding wind turbines, with human health one of the most common concerns. Some argue that reported health ...

Public attitude is generally overwhelmingly in favor of wind energy, yet this support does not always translate into unanimous local acceptance of projects. Opposition groups point to a number of issues regarding wind turbines, with human health one of the most common concerns. Some argue that reported health effects are related to wind turbine operation (i.e., electromagnetic fields [EMF] from transmission of energy, shadow flicker from moving rotor blades, and audible noise, low frequency noise and infrasound). Others suggest that the reported effects are more likely attributable to a number of environmental stressors and subjective variables (e.g., visual cue, attitude, personality and expectations related to media) that result in an annoyed/stressed state, rather than a turbine-specific variable.

In 2011 there were roughly fifteen articles in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that specifically addressed issues related to human health and wind turbines. Today that number has grown to closer to 60. Much of this peer-reviewed information, as well as information from government agency reports, popular literature and internet sources (websites, opinion pieces, conference proceedings, and unpublished documents) has been used in legal hearings and regulatory decisions about wind turbines siting around the world.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to bring together global experts who are engaged in this debate (environmental health scientists, medical doctors, epidemiologists, acousticians, lawyers, policy makers and risk communicators) to provide an up-to-date weight of evidence discussion on the issue of wind turbines and human health. This Research Topic will be a comprehensive resource that will allow those interested in the subject to access up-to-date information from a well known and credible source (Frontiers/Nature).


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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