Dozens of families in a Cape Cod town sue over 'wind turbine syndrome,' blaming three new turbines for making them feel sick and dizzy.
Wind turbines harness the power of the wind and use it to generate electricity.
Just one wind turbine can generate enough electricity for a single house. They are usually clustered together and are built in places where it is nearly always windy. The electricity that is generated is then sold to electricity companies.
They are pollution free, and the power they generate is renewable.
But some residents of a small Massachusetts community say the wind turbines are harming their health.
Back in 2010, the town of Falmouth and a private company called Notus Clean Energy put up three 400-feet-tall, 1.63 megawatt wind turbines.
Just a few months later, Sue Hobart, a 57-year-old wedding florist, began experiencing spells of dizziness, bouts of insomnia, ringing in her ears and severe headaches.
Sue says she first thought her symptoms were related to old age, but she noticed that the symptoms vanished when away from home.
The trio of wind turbines are only 1600 feet from her home.
Then in 2011, a doctor at Harvard Medical School diagnosed Sue with 'wind turbine syndrome.' It's a controversial health condition that is not recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the doctor's findings, 'many people living within 1.25 miles of these spinning giants get sick. So sick that they often abandon their homes. Nobody wants to buy their acoustically toxic homes.'
Well, the doctor's research has come under criticism from wind energy advocates. They claim the data was unreliable because only a small sample size was used, had no control group, interviewed subjects by phone and then hand-picked experts for the peer review process.
Regardless, Sue and her husband filed a nuisance claim against Notus Clean Energy and its owner in February. They are seeking between $150,00 and $300,000 in damages for the loss of their home value and medical bills.
And Sue isn't' the only one.
Neil and Betsy Anderson, also of Falmouth, were major supporters of green energy until their town installed the wind turbines feet away from their home.
Neil says that within a week he began experiencing pressure in his ears, which later turned into tinnitus, as well as shortness of breath, headaches and heart palpitations.
Betsy suffered from debilitating migraines.
Experts say though these symptoms could be purely psychological in nature and caused by the nocedo effect – the negative reaction experiences by a patient who is exposed to a harmless substance.
Neil disagrees. He told a reporter to 'just come into my house and feel the walls shaking.'
A recent study commissioned by the Massachusetts Department
of Environmental Protection and Public Health has concluded that wind turbines
present little more than an ‘annoyance' to residents.
According to Notus, in three years of operation the turbines
have prevented emissions of more than 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide from
conventional power plants.