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Topic: infrasound (Read 3055 times) previous topic - next topic
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While not strictly on topic for the focus of the forum, this seems like something that might interest many people involved in sound. The first video has graphs, charts, diagrams, photos and microscope slide pictures to illustrate some of the material. The second only contains the lecture being given around those props. While the material of the second is basically the same as in the first, the presentation is somewhat different and in some cases, I think, clearer. Possible the last point is really just me having heard more of the detail the second time around.


Re: infrasound

Reply #3
While considerably more research needs to be done to sort out many issues, that Brian Dunning article was written by someone either totally ignorant of the scientific work that has been done or someone bent on deflecting attention from the empirical evidence of physical  measurements, extensive medical examinations, and various experiments with laboratory animals. These are covered in the lectures and literature summary I linked to.

Dare I say the article is strongly reminiscent of what has been claimed of the tobacco industry vis a vis the results of smoking. Anyone who doesn't see that clearly hasn't listened to either lecture nor read the article, both of which are also quite interesting from a purely objective scientific viewpoint.

As clearly stated in the lectures, and is obvious from the literature summary, wind turbines are neither the beginning nor the end of the story, but wind turbines are a very important consideration because in their tens, nay hundreds of thousands they are intruding on the living spaces of both people and many animal species over much of the world.

Industrial infrasound has nothing to do with the part of the spectrum that anyone can hear. This might lead to be a somewhat reasonable complaint that it isn't what Hydrogen Audio is about but I pointed that out in my opening. I don't know another word for it except sound as it is the same kind of energy manifestation in matter as the part of the spectrum that can be heard. It is about 'sound' energy and it is quite interesting, if potentially disturbing.

One difference from the normal sense of "sound" is that many tissues besides the ear respond strongly to infrasound and another is that infrasound penetrates where audible sound cannot. Perhaps some of the kinds of tissue changes from infrasound would also occur from the audio spectrum experienced at similar levels but hearing would probably be destroyed before any other conditions could develop. Audible sound that loud, at such prolonged exposures, rarely if ever occurs. I also don't know why this is so little known; hard physical evidence has been accumulating, if not terribly rapidly, at least since the early 60s.

Re: infrasound

Reply #4
Well, we can believe what we want to believe.

The science behind this simply do not stack up.  Ms Pierpont's studies are amateurish and a truck can be driven through those references you have linked.

Brain Dunning is highly respected in the field of science, and he is just one of many mainstream scientists that dismiss the infrasound myth.  But like many other critics such as Randi, Houdini and so on, they are despised by those pushing psuedoscience to back their cause.  Instead of attacking the person, respond to the 6 points he makes which debunks the infrasound claim.

The comparison to the tobacco industry is hardly a good analogy.  Dunning and the countless other scientists do not work for windmill manufacturers or the electricity industry, indeed the scientists not connected to the tobacco industry were the ones championing the health hazards of smoking.  The analogy with the infrasound crowd is is more with astrologers and spoon benders.

Unless you get into conspiracy theories, you have to wonder why hasn't any government agency or health peak bodies anywhere in the world come out to warn the public of the dangers of windmills, or infrasound (which in any event, windmills do not produce any sub 20hz frequencies) as a danger to public health.

Re: infrasound

Reply #5
So you believe they are making up all the measurement data, medical tests, and experimental results? "They" has to include all the different scientists that have published their work on the subject since the early 60s.

Do the people to whom you refer have any counter arguments about the emperical claims or are they just basing their opinions on subjective evaluations of people subject to questionaires?

While I can't speak to the actions or thoughts of anyone in particular, in regards to wind turbines, one must acknowledge that tens of billions of dollars per year of govenment guaranteed profits might have some power to induce biases.

I note that "the 6 points he makes which debunks the infrasound claim" do not include any particulars one can specifically point to nor any references, data, or even testimonies to back up what he writes. Professor Alves-Pereria provides a summary of very specific data. One would have to look into her published papers to get additional details.

She presented some very specific claims about what this kind of infrasound does. There are a variety of specific tissue changes that do not correspond to any recognized disease conditions. These can be observed via certain medical diagnosis, biopsy, autopsy of humans, and dissection of lab animals. Some conditions have been produced in controlled animal experiments as well as being indicated as highly unusual compared to the general population by some statistical studies. There was close to 30 years research by her group on various infrasound sources before wind turbines were ever considered as possible problems.

The studies referenced in the 57 papers identified conditions in many different tissues of the body which can lead to quite a few different symptoms. Even though the tissue damage was the same or similar in different parts of the body, the results of brain damage, lung damage, and kidney damage, to list a few, do not produce the same macro symptoms.

The causes are clearly stated. The mechanical energy produces particular stresses which lead to particular cellular responses which lead to abnormal tissue growth. The responses can produce a variety of symptoms, depending on the particular damaged tissues.

#3, #4
This seems clearly untrue based on reported complaints from many countries.

Some individual complaints could logically begin very soon after exposure. It is not beyond reason that some particular symptoms, such as the seizures, may be triggured only or mostly in the presence of the stimulus -- the infrasound -- even though the medical condition that causes that result exists permanently once enough exposure has occurred.

Another personal example about differing levels of complaint/reported problems:
I once worked in a facility with very high noise levels. Some employees added to this by playing (awful) music on crappy boom boxes at maximum volume. This many not be unusual in some places but I was appalled. In more than 30 years of working at various jobs I had never been assaulted this way. I complained.

There were many employees there. Clearly some people did care about the noise, regardless of what it must have been doing to their ears. Some males clearly thought that any 'too loud' complaints, or measures for hearing protection, were too sissy to consider.

Others confided, when I asked, that they found the situation very uncomfortable or distressing but would not consider speaking out about it. In part they seemed afraid of repercussion such as losing their job but I gathered that a big part of their reticence was cultural. Most were various varieties of Asian, I presume because of the local demographics. Perhaps one just did not make personal complains to those people in positions of higher power. Possibly this kind of thinking leads to less wind turbine complaints in some parts of the world than in others. Obviously this is just a guess. Physics, chemistry, and physiology are unlikely to discriminate, however. If the bodily damage is real, it most likely happens to everyone exposed, just like hearing loss from high audible levels does not depend on whether you like the sound or hate it.

Since the symptoms are not unique to the condition they may often be attributed to something else -- and therefore no close examination is ever undertaken to find that the tissues damage is unique.  Doctors often make diagnoses, in advance of medical tests, based on the combination of reported symptoms. The same individual symptoms belong to many recognized causes even though the combined pattern may be unique to some particular disease.

Again, as an example of examination failure, I have had various physical symptoms for most of my life that are sometimes rather debilitating but fortunately not always so. They run in the family, in my siblings and at least one earlier generations, so are possibly based in genetics. I gave up seeing doctors about them years ago because not one had any idea what to do about my problems.

A few of my siblings have taken symptom treating drugs for many years. These help day to day but do nothing about the causes, whatever they may be. Many people have other complaints for which no medical condition has yet been identified but which seem to be genuine. More than a few medical conditions have been clearly diagnosed, and the cause identified, only after generations have suffered. However, in the case of infrasound damage, much objectively identifiable evidence has already been reported.

Infrasound damage studies go back to at least the early 60s, as evidenced by the papers listed in my second post.

The reported observations, measurements, and experiments refute these claims.  Infrasound is produced at high levels by wind turbines -- as measured. Tissue changes can be detected by various tests. The same tissue changes have been produce in experimental setups. Of course all these claims should be subjected to replication and verification. Alternate hypothesis for the empirical data should be suggested and tested. Just saying that the data does not exist, however, is hardly convincing to anyone willing to look at it.

Most of the serious literature is not about wind turbines; it is about other sources of infrasound. Wind turbines are only a recently investigated source. It seems clear that one of the first replicate/falsify tests must be to use appropriate equipment to measure the 'sound' in appropriate places around wind turbines and in the places where people experience their complaints.

The equipment used for legal sound level tests is totally inappropriate here, and indeed useless, since it does not measure much, or anything, at infrasound frequencies. That is definitely a big problem in a number of reported wind turbine investigations - measurements are made in accordance with legislated constraints which don't recognize infrasound. Also, the tests should include full energy analysis because one of the claims is that this infrasound has aspects  not found in any known natural sound sources (that claim is clearly enough described to be put to the test).

Re: infrasound

Reply #6
Brian Dunning is not a scientist. He's a writer and someone who became popular for his skeptical podcast, then he got convicted for wire fraud for "cookie stuffing" scheme. He's not the cleanest most honest guy is all I'm saying.

Here's an article by Steven Novella who I think is more trustworthy, and an actual neurologist.

Re: infrasound

Reply #7
First, it seems important to not lose sight of the fact that very little of the objective evidence available was obtained from wind turbine studies so looking only at the published wind turbines studies will miss most of it. The topic is industrially produced infrasound, of which there are many sources -- but wind turbines definitely seem to be more or less the same as most other sources. Sometimes these other industrial sources are close enough to human living communities to produce the observed and measured changes in brain, ear, lungs, heart, and circulatory system tissues but most sources are not, in general, placed near large populations' living spaces. The recent investigation of wind turbines arose partly from the fact that many wind farms are being constructed much closer to where people live and/or where farm animals are kept. Efforts to obtain objective evidence about wind turbines per se began only in recent years.

Some of the studies mentioned in the Steven Novella article found evidence of damaging results or at lest the suggestion of a problem and he ;pointed out various limitations in the data but consider some of the statements:

"There is evidence that infrasound has a physiological effect on the ear."
The observable inner ear changes in certain structures are described in the lectures. Those tissues are small enough that microscopic examination is necessary to detect the changes. Certain hearing changes seem to be frequently or consistently produced but these not the same results as hearing loss from over exposure to loud noises.
"There is some evidence to suggest that infrasound can have an effect on the vestibular system of sensitive individuals."
Structural changes are directly observable in the lungs, trachea, heart, ears, brain, and circulatory system but only if you go looking for them inside the body. Cellular chemistry changes were found in some experiments.

"But even the more rigorous studies are largely subjective."
The evidence from the studies referenced in the lectures and the document linked to in my first two posts are not subjective. They were not obtained through interviews or complaints of symptoms (although some of the investigations were started because of health complaints).

The first study described in the lecture started with one observation, sometime in the 80s, but the first real evidence of a general problem came from tedious examination of many medical records maintained over many previous years. These revealed the diagnosis of late onset epilepsy at 50X the general population norm in the subject population. Direct measurements and direct observations of humans were started later, when subjects became available. Previously unknown tissues changes were revealed, then experiments were done on laboratory animals, producing the same results. Further data was collected, and studies made, for more than 30 years. Earlier studies started in the 1960s in response to various problems.

"One objective question to answer is – how loud are wind turbines?"
   The evidence seems clear enough that standard measures of noise levels are largely irrelevant.
   Infrasound levels does not always fall off in the usual way with distance as higher frequencies generally do.
   Audible sound levels do not correlate that closely with the levels of infrasound produced. The infrasound energy signature (i.e spectral-time distribution) is frequently different from audible sounds.
   Wind turbines are potentially damaging at lower infrasound levels than many other industrial infrasound sources because they are can be present day and night, not only during a working shift. The tissues are a cumulative result.

Infrasound level measurements were made as part of studies discussed in the lectures and shown to be higher than any clues obtained from standard audible frequencies measurements suggested. Alves-Pereria isn't the only researcher that says that the LAeq measurements usually used in legal definitions of noise levels can not reveal the discontinuous pulsed nature of wind turbine infrasound or the amount of energy that impacts tissues. This seems clearly explained in the lectures, probably true for anyone who bothers to listen to the lectures. Measured variations in infrasound with distance would seem to be another useful metric to find out what relationships exist but measurements inside peoples homes are also necessary.

It seems well established that whale songs, which generally includes a large measure of infrasound, often travel thousands of miles through the ocean with little attenuation. I read, in one place, this is also true for infrasound in the atmosphere but no background was provide for that claim. I suspect that most professionals who deal with acoustics are aware that low frequence audible sound can result is limited areas at markedly higher levels in different locations, at different distances from the source, especially within buildings. I have definitely experienced that myself although without any means of making objective measurements.

Steven Novella may be entirely truthful and will inclined, and also perhaps most of the researchers who did the studies he referenced, but they seem to me to be largely on the wrong path. What comes to my mind is the story about the drunk looking for his keys under the street light because it was too dark over yonder where he dropped them. Over the years I read a few journal articles that claimed to debunk some particular claim but which completely ignored the constraints of that claim and went off in another direction, a typical strawman argument.

This of course sometimes happens without any intent to mislead. An individual's biases are usually not apparent to him or her self. I'm not advocating against wind turbines on the basis of infrasound. I presented this thread as information. It seems apparent to me that the topic is very complicated.
   Can the level of infrasound be controlled?
   Are all of the observed physical impacts harmful simply because they happen to a body? Obviously some are debilitating and at least some are eventually deadly.
   Do they always happen? The available evidence seems to say yes, dependent on signal frequency, level, time of prolonged exposure (and other variables?) but so far the picture is far from well focused.
   In some experiments, different infrasound frequencies produced different results. Quite a few of the published studies were focused on one single tissue type.
   Some experiments found that modified tissues were eventually replaced with normal tissue if infrasound was discontinued.
   Some changed tissues remained grossly different but regained normal functioning.
   Many changes seemed probably permanent.

Perhaps no one here is interested. My impression of both of the replies is that the individual did not bother to listen to or read the links. Otherwise they would have been aware that what they pointed to in response had little relevance. And I would not have had to write such long, probably tortuous, summaries about what is more clearly covered in the linked material.

Re: infrasound

Reply #8
Sorry, I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with the OP. I just wanted to put Brian Dunning in a bit of context.

Re: infrasound

Reply #9
I understand. I read various things in some science-policy areas. There are more than a few 'scientists' and 'science writers' who are mainly advocates for something in particular, damn being objective. Some are very good from the PR viewpoint. If you don't know about them it is very easy to be taken in and think that there must be something wrong with anything not in agreement with their propaganda. It is often enlightening if an open discussion, with many participants, is possible.

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