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WINTERSET, Iowa — The Madison County Board of Public Health is going on record to say that there are legitimate negative health effects caused by wind turbines.

Board Chair Dr. Kevin de Regnier said the board identified two concerns after a review of scientific literature and months of hearings and meetings with residents and MidAmerican Energy.

The two health concerns identified are:

  1. “Flicker” caused by the sun reflecting off turbine blades creates a strobe effect that can cause headaches and nausea.
  2. “Infrasound” is a soundwave just below what the ear can actually detect. It is created by the turbines disturbing wind flow.  It, too, can cause headaches and nausea.

“Resolved that the Madison County Board of Health determines that there is the potential for negative health affects associated with commercial wind turbines and that current setbacks are inadequate to protect the public health,” said Madison County Public Health in a statement to Channel 13.

The board recommends that any future wind turbine projects be 1.5 miles from any residence.

However, the Iowa Environmental Council disputes these claims and said there is not any proven health consequences associated with wind turbines.

Dr. Peter Thorne, head of the Occupational and Environmental Health department at the University of Iowa, spoke with the Madison County Board of Public Health last Thursday. Dr. Thorne presented findings from two comprehensive reviews of peer-reviewed science. The findings did not show any scientific evidence that infrasound causes health concerns, according to the Iowa Environmental Council. That paper can be viewed here.

The Iowa Environmental Council also noted that Dr. de Regnier voted against the the resolution.

The County Board of Supervisors will discuss this Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.