The World Health Organization is currently reviewing the European Environmental Noise Guidelines:
“The guidelines will assess several environmental noise sources such as aircraft, rail, road, wind turbines and personal electronic devices. The document will also consider specific settings such as residences, hospitals, educational settings and public venues. In addition, the guidelines will review the evidence on health benefits from noise mitigation and interventions to decrease noise levels.”
Below is a letter submitted for consideration.
NOISE: A startling case of two schools in proximity to wind turbines
Dear Mme Héroux,
I should be grateful if you would ensure that this report reaches the ladies and gentlemen of the panel reviewing the WHO’s noise guidelines for Europe.
In an effort to assist a society in danger, I feel obligated to make this case public. I am employed in schools within a rural area. The projects I am involved in run throughout the school year. I hope it will be understood why I cannot reveal names and locations. Sadly, I must protect myself against the professional consequences which could result from a fully detailed testimony.
During the past two years, I have worked in a school located 5 km to the east of a small wind farm, whose elevation is about 300 feet above that of the establishment. Most of the time, the school is downwind from the 2 MW wind turbines. In 2014/2015, I worked with the kindergarten consisting of 20 children aged 2.5 to 5 years of age. I’ve been engaged in this work for a long time, and I know the region and its people very well.
I was surprised how hard it was to manage this class of very young children. Actually, the teacher would systematically divide the class into two groups of 10, although I usually have no problems working with whole classes. Nonetheless, I found it hard to maintain the concentration of many of these children. In addition, a lot of pupils exhibited unusual and completely improper behaviour, which was violent and disruptive. I had rarely encountered this before with children of that age group, and never in such proportions. I did not understand why at first. It wasn’t the teacher’s fault: he was kind and rigorous at the same time, which is perfect for such small children.
During the second school year, I was again assigned to that school, but this time in two classes: the kindergarten divided into two groups, and a class with children aged 6 to 7.
This second class was absolutely unmanageable during the five first sessions. Its experienced teacher commented to me it was like that most of the time, he just could not handle those children. Yet again, nothing was wrong with the teacher. Several children seemed to be extremely ill at ease, a feeling shared by the teacher. There were instances of fits, outbursts of rage, rolling on the floor, knocking tables over and provoking each other into violent behaviour. The teacher was losing confidence and was also beginning to feel ill himself, on one occasion coming very close to a burn-out. The tiredness etched upon his face reflected his struggles. It should be noted that he also had problems with his memory, and it was becoming obvious that the children’s behaviour was not the only cause of his troubles, but that the location as well was a highly plausible culprit.
I soon made the connection with the wind turbines, because this behaviour reminded me of two children I had worked with a couple of years ago: they lived 800 yards from a wind farm. Having realised that, I started to check on the wind direction every time I drove to the school, when passing the wind turbines which in any event can be seen from the village.
From the start of the 6th session the change was dramatic: this class was the most peaceful I had ever taught. The children were remarkably calm and took part in the experiments in a very constructive way, intervening advisedly, all without pushing and shoving or fighting. Notably, the wind was blowing from the east, from the village to the wind farm, not the other way around as it did previously. I informed the teacher about my observation.
Some time later, having worked during the morning in the kindergarten, I was having lunch with their teacher in the classroom before going to another school. At noon, he was called by his third colleague. The 6-7 year olds’ teacher had left the school in tears, after a horrible morning spent with his pupils who had behaved particularly violently and unbearably. While we were eating, we stopped talking for a moment. This is when I felt the school vibrating, as if a lorry were passing on the country road 300 feet away. This vibration however, did not cease. In fact, the whole school was vibrating strongly, and we listened to that humming sound for a long moment. We opened the window, but there was no noticeable source of noise outside. It wasn’t the air extraction fan either, for we could hear its less obtrusive noise separately.
The classrooms had probably been vibrating during the whole morning, but this had been covered by the background noise of our activities. There is therefore very good reason to believe that this could have been the cause of the particularly strong malaise felt in the disruptive class of 6-7 year olds during the morning. That particular room faces the wind turbines and clearly acts as a sound box. The two other classrooms are more protected, but that didn’t prevent us from hearing strong vibrations in the kindergarten room, situated at the back of the building. The teacher of that class had also heard the noise very well. It is important to note that a sustained wind had been blowing from the direction of the wind turbines for several days.
The children all live in villages situated below the wind turbines, and were born after the construction of the wind farm. I recently met the mother of one of the children. She told me about the problems caused by the highly excitable nature of her two children and their classmates. She didn’t know what to do, so she had called a woman who claimed to be able to ‘demagnetise‘ her children. She also had special EMF electricity outlets installed. When I told her about my observations, her face immediately lit up and her comment was: « it’s quite possible ! »
I had worked previously in the same school, in the same conditions and within its ancient building before the turbines were built. I retain happy memories of these times.
I have also worked, twice, in another school, located 2 km west from a similar wind farm. First it was before the wind project was built, and I had found the children to be quick-witted, with many brilliant pupils among them, one being even recognised as exceptionally gifted. The second time around, it happened 4 and 5 years after the erection of the turbines. This was a part-time job which lasted 18 months, with 8-10 year olds.
When I took that assignment, I found that a very large proportion of the pupils had special education needs, a large number of them bound to low attainment, and many had learning disabilities officially recognised (dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia etc.). Out of a class of 25 pupils, not a single one was considered brilliant. The same problems could be found in the second class, again with no children obtaining high grades. Given the high pedagogical quality of the teachers (they were the same as before the wind turbines), the eventual social problems of some of the children (not more than anywhere else) couldn’t justify the massive failure in this primary level schooling.
I thought this failure might have been caused by EMF pollution from permanent WIFI signals, and the faint natural light in the classes. But it was the same as years ago, and the same in other schools, where I had met numerous brilliant children. Again, the only difference here was the wind farm’s proximity.
Unlike the first school, and considering the prevailing westerly winds, this one was located upwind from the turbines, and at the same altitude. The children here didn’t exhibit the same violent temperaments and behaviour as those described earlier in the first case, or as the two children living 800 yards from wind turbines. On the contrary, this was a very peaceful class, almost lifeless, lacking in concentration, vitality and reactivity, with poor oral participation. A large proportion of children exhibited serious learning difficulties. In addition, when working in that school I became dizzy whenever rising from my desk, or when leaning over a child and straightening up. Here again, I thought the WI-FI was the cause (in fact it could have contributed some).
Comparing the two schools, the first one is located downwind about 300 feet below and 5 km away from wind turbines, with pupils born after these were erected, living in homes in much the same topographical situation as the school. They exhibit severe behaviour outbursts when the wind blows from the direction of the turbines.
In the second case we have a school located upwind, 2 km from another wind farm and at roughly the same elevation as its turbines, with pupils born before the construction of the wind farm, living in the same village as the school. A high proportion of them have severe learning difficulties which didn’t exist in that school before the wind turbines.
As the inquiry is about ambient noise, generally speaking, I also wish to report the harm done by air extraction fans and milking robots, which have invaded our farms. Contrary to the earlier milking machines, they don’t only work 2 x 2 hours a day, but keep humming around the clock, causing health problems to cattle and humans alike. This is not counting with the heat pumps. Actually, sources of infrasound are springing up everywhere. And although out of topic, please allow me to briefly mention the digital boards, the operation of which requires teachers to close the blinds, thus depriving a whole generation of children of natural light for a large proportion of their school day. In short, in an increasing number of schools, all these negative impacts on health add up. But clearly, from my experience as summarised above, wind turbines are responsible for the most harmful impacts.
I hope my testimony will enable you to write directives that will protect our children from these most harmful effects. I did not sign it, because too many “politically-incorrect“ whistle-blowers have lost their jobs, which is something, you will appreciate, myself and my family cannot possibly risk or afford. Only authorised persons in very senior positions know my identity. This report is, therefore, only anonymous with regard to its release into the public domain.
I should be grateful for confirmation of receipt of this letter.
Signature: identity legitimely withheld (see last paragraph above)
Letter posted online Dec.13.16: https://wcfn.org/2016/12/13/windfarms-affect-children/