Do Wind Turbines Cause Health Problems?

wind turbine wind turbine
Wind energy currently accounts for about 8 percent of the total energy output in the United States. Global Wind Energy Council

­As of May 2017, wind power accounts for about 8 percent of the electricity produced in the United States, more than any other renewable source. Nearly 58,000 wind turbines crank out power throughout the country. These massive windmills — up to 80 feet (24 meters) tall — capture the energy in wind and convert it into free-flowing electrons that people can use to run dishwashers, air conditioning and lights.

That 8 percent may not sound like much until you realize that wind power is just catching on in the United States. Huge new wind far­ms accounting for thousands more megawatts of capacity are in development as we speak, and the U.S. Department of Energy set goals in its 2017 Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States. Its aim is to have wind provide 10 percent of U.S. electrical demand in 2020, 20 percent by 2030 and 35 percent in 2050. Wind power already covers 14 percent of the electricity demands in the European Union.

­Until recently, there were three main issues regarding the possible downsides of wind power: bird and­ bat deaths, cost, and disrupting the appearance of natural landscapes. But a new objection to wind power has popped up in again in the news — the idea that wind power endangers the health of people who live near windmills. Some people call this theory "wind-turbine syndrome."

­Those concerned about wind-power syndrome are interested in finding out if and how wind power could be making people sick. Is everyone living near windmills facing health probl­ems? Let's take a look at the possible health risks associated with wind farms and find out whether we should be worried about the steady increase in wind-generated power throughout the world.