Madaket Wind Turbine Project

Wind Turbines & Public Health 
Nantucket Energy Office
Mooney Building; 3rd Floor
22 Federal Street
Nantucket,MA 02554

(508) 325-5379
BOSTON - An independent panel of experts studying potential health impacts of wind turbines has issued its report, Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of the Independent Expert Panel. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) convened the panel in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). The panel was composed of physicians and scientists with broad expertise in areas including acoustical noise/infrasound, public health, sleep disturbance, mechanical engineering, epidemiology, and neuroscience. 

The independent report was proactively sought to help address questions that have been raised by members of the public about potential human health impacts associated with proximity to wind turbines. The panel was asked to identify any documented or potential human health impacts or risks that may be associated with exposure to wind turbines in order to facilitate discussion of wind turbines and public health based on the best available science. The panel was also asked to offer suggestions relative to best practices.

Due to the high level of interest in the panel's findings, the report is being made available to the public at the same time it is being reviewed by the agencies. Access the report here:

Among the key findings of the panel are:

  • There is no evidence for a set of health effects from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterized as a "Wind Turbine Syndrome."

  • Claims that infrasound from wind turbines directly impacts the vestibular system have not been demonstrated scientifically. Available evidence shows that the infrasound levels near wind turbines cannot impact the vestibular system.

  • The weight of the evidence suggests no association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health problems.

  •  None of the limited epidemiological evidence reviewed suggests an association between noise from wind turbines and pain and stiffness, diabetes, high blood pressure, tinnitus, hearing impairment, cardiovascular disease, and headache/migraine.

  •  There is limited epidemiologic evidence suggesting an association between exposure to wind turbines and annoyance. There is insufficient epidemiologic evidence to determine whether there is an association between noise from wind turbines and annoyance independent from the effects of seeing a wind turbine and vice versa.

  •  There is limited evidence from epidemiologic studies suggesting an association between noise from wind turbines and sleep disruption. In other words, it is possible that noise from some wind turbines can cause sleep disruption. Whether annoyance from wind turbines leads to sleep issues or stress has not been sufficiently quantified. While not based on evidence from wind turbines, there is evidence that sleep disruption can adversely affect mood, cognitive functioning, and overall sense of health and well-being.

  •  Scientific evidence suggests that shadow flicker does not pose a risk for eliciting seizures as a result of photic stimulation. There is limited scientific evidence of an association between annoyance from prolonged shadow flicker (exceeding 30 minutes per day) and potential transitory cognitive and physical health effects.

The material provided on this page is for informational purposes only. The studies and analysis are representative of work assimilated by the Energy Study Committee and does not reflect the opinions of the Town of Nantucket nor the Nantucket Board of Selectmen. For alternative analyses of the impacts of wind power on Nantucket, please refer to Common Sense Nantucket at:

ESC Subcommittee on Wind Turbine Health Impacts 

In February of 2012, the Energy Study Committee formed a subcommittee to more closely examine the potential health impacts and risks associated with the proposed Madaket Turbine.

The Subcommittee on Wind Turbine Risk Assessment, comprised ​of three volunteers, met regularly to:

  • Identify & Review Reported Health Issues & Concerns

  • Identify & Discuss Existing Research and Health Reports Relating to Wind Turbines

  • Discuss Additional Action of the Health Sub-Committee. 

​The board aimed to separate "myth vs. reality" and address questions that have been raised by members of the public about potential human health impacts associated with proximity to wind turbines. The Subcommittee encouraged open participation from the general public.

The Potential Health Impact of Wind Turbines
This report was prepared by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) of Ontario in response to public health concerns about wind turbines, particularly related related to noise.  

Australia: Release of NHMRC Public Statement: Wind Turbines and Health
The Public Statement presents the evidence, current at 2009, relating potential health impacts of wind turbines on people living in close proximity. The Statement concludes that there is currently no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects.

Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines
Prepared by: Minnesota Department of Health Environmental Health Division
In response to a request from: Minnesota Department of Commerce Office of Energy Security
May 22, 2009
Supplementary Report: A Brief Review of Wind Power in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Vermont, and Maine
The purpose of this supplementary report is to provide a brief overview of wind power in three countries (Denmark, Germany, and Sweden) and two states (Vermont and Maine), with a focus on determining if there are any possible best practices and/or lessons for Massachusetts to consider. January 2012.
1) There is no “Do Nothing” option that results in no harm to anyone. Unfortunately, doing nothing will continue to cause emissions from fossil fueled power generating facilities into the environment in the form of Greenhouse Gases, most notably CO2, CO, and NOx even if a gas- fired turbine is assumed to be the only polluter producing emissions. These gases hurt everyone.

2) Infrasounds (inaudible sounds) – There is no standard or regulation at this time governing or addressing these sounds. There is subjective data that infrasound may be detrimental to people. However, at the amplitudes that Wind Turbines produce these sounds there is no objective data that supports the contention that these sounds are detrimental to people.

3) Audible Sounds (Noise) – A Peer Review of the TON’s acoustical consultant’s report and that of the study performed by Common Sense Nantucket’s consultant Rand – Ambrose is under way at this time.

4) Visual impacts, Community Conflict, and the Regulatory status at the state level are all important health concerns which are further summarized in the final spreadsheet.

Respectfully submitted, 
Nantucket Energy Committee – Sub-Committee on Health Committee Members:
Ken Blackshaw
Ian Golding
John Stover (Chair) 
Dr. Francis (Tim) Weld (Advisor)
This document summarizes the health issues associated with the Madaket Wind Turbine, entitled “Madaket Wind Turbine Project, Health Issues Under Consideration.” We have identified nine (9) major areas of concern regarding health issues, intended to inform the BOS and citizens of Nantucket prior to Annual Town Meeting. The subcommittee has reviewed several reports issued on each of these areas of interest. Studies have been undertaken and reported in the USA and in Europe. We believe the following points are of the greatest importance:
NOTE: The Madaket Wind Turbine Project (Article 13) was defeated in the 2012 Annual Town Meeting on March 31. 2012. This website is retained for archival and reference purposes.