Noise from wind turbines linked to increased use of sleeping pills, Danish study finds

A Danish study has found that people over 65 years of age are more likely to take certain types of medicine if they live close to wind turbines.

Noise from wind turbines linked to increased use of sleeping pills, Danish study finds
Photo: Bax Lindhardt/Ritzau Scanpix

People over the age of 65 who live close enough to wind turbines to hear a significant level of noise are more likely to be use prescriptions for anti-depressive or sleeping medication, the research found.

The study was conducted by the Danish Cancer Society (Kræftens Bekæmpelse) and was financed by three government ministries – the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environment and Food and the Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate.

Six different conclusions relating to the effects of wind turbines on health were made as a result of the research.

One of those conclusions is a clear link between medicine use and noise levels from wind turbines, said Aslak Harbo Poulsen, a researcher with the Danish Cancer Society.

“Our studies have found that there is, certainly amongst older people, a link between wind turbine noise that can be measured outdoors and the likelihood of using a prescription for medicine to treat depression or difficulty sleeping,” Poulsen said.

Participants in the study over the age of 65 and with night-time exposure to over 42 decibels of noise were the specific category found to be affected. People under the age of 65 did not show the same trend.

Other elements of the study found no conclusive evidence of a connection between long or short-term exposure to wind turbine noise and embolisms in the heart or strokes.

Neither was any link found between long-term exposure to wind turbine noise and late-onset diabetes.

Henrik Winther, director of the Danish Wind Energy Association (Danmarks Vindmølleforening), accepted the findings of the research.

“It is positive that this long-term and thorough research has now reached a conclusion. The public, local politicians and the wind energy sector have waited a long time for it, and the overall picture from the study is that there is no clear connection,” Winther said in a press statement.

“The study as a whole has thereby fulfilled its political purpose: to provide more knowledge, which can help to ease the concerns some may have had,” he added.

The most comprehensive study of its kind in Denmark, the newly-published research was commenced in 2014.

READ ALSO: Denmark reserves waters for construction of wind power farms

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Denmark and Baltic countries plan ‘seven times more’ offshore wind energy

Denmark and other nations bordering the Baltic Sea will announce on Tuesday a plan to dramatically boost offshore wind energy by 2030. 

Denmark and Baltic countries plan 'seven times more' offshore wind energy

Today, just under 3 gigawatts are generated in the Baltic Sea, about half of which is Danish energy. An additional 1,100 to 1,700 offshore wind turbines will be needed to bring the total energy capacity to nearly 20 gigawatts in 2030.

A joint agreement to reach these levels in coming years is to be announced by participating countries on Tuesday, according to newspaper Politiken.

The newspaper reports a draft declaration it has seen in relation to the agreement, which will be presented at a summit at the Danish prime minister’s residence, Marienborg, north of Copenhagen on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Denmark keen to join with Baltic countries on wind energy

Should the amount of additional energy reported by Politiken be produced, as many as 22 to 30 million households could see their energy needs covered by wind power.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen talked up the importance of wind power in comments to Politiken.

“The war in Ukraine and climate change are being met with now. We have two crises on the table at the same time. We need to speed up green energy conversion and we need to free ourselves from Russian fossil fuels,” she said.

Frederiksen is participating in the summit on behalf of Denmark. Senior officials and leaders and from Germany, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and the EU Commission will also attend.

The summit was earlier scheduled to take place on Denmark’s Baltic island Bornholm but was moved due to a strike at Bornholm’s airport, which was not resolved until late on Monday.

A total of 2.8 gigawatts of wind power are currently produced in the Baltic Sea according to the Danish energy ministry.

Potentially, that could be increased to 93 gigawatts by 2050, an EU Commission assessment has found.

Earlier this year, Frederiksen hosted a green energy summit in western Danish city Esbjerg, at which the government signed an agreement with Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany for a ten-fold increase of offshore wind power capacity in the North Sea to 150 gigawatts by 2050.

On Monday, the Danish parliament voted through plans to increase production wind energy at a wind turbine park off Bornholm from 2 to 3 gigawatts. The facility will be connected to Germany.