Fact-Checking Trump’s Comment On Wind Farms And Cancer
President Donald Trump suggested during a speech at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual dinner that the noise from “windmills” causes cancer.
“If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value. And they say the noise causes cancer. You tell me that one, okay?” Trump said April 2.
While studies have shown that the noise from wind farms may cause irritability, the scientific community has widely dismissed the notion that wind turbines pose a serious health risk.
Trump has long opposed the construction of wind farms. He has argued they’re ugly, decrease property values, kill birds and now, cause cancer.
Wind turbines have been blamed for a variety of physical maladies. Simon Chapman, a professor emeritus of public health at the University of Sydney, compiled a list of 247 ailments and disturbances, ranging from sleeplessness and depression to cancer and even death, that people have attributed to wind turbines over the years.
The term “wind turbine syndrome” has been used to refer to the broad category of illnesses allegedly associated with wind farms.
A number of studies have found that the noise produced by wind turbines – roughly as loud as a lawn mower at its source – may cause annoyance and possibly sleeplessness in nearby populations, but beyond that, the scientific community believes that wind farms do not pose serious health risks.
“Global peer-reviewed scientific data and independent studies consistently concluded that sound from wind plants has no direct impact on physical human health,” reads the Energy Department website.
As far as Trump’s claim on cancer: “It’s nonsense,” Benjamin Neel, director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email. “There is absolutely NO compelling data of any type to support this claim. It is classic fake news-on the level of anti-vaxxers.”
“Unequivocally, noise from wind turbines does not cause cancer,” Loren Knopper, an environmental health scientist at Stantec, told TheDCNF.
The American Cancer Society provided a statement saying they are “unaware of any credible evidence linking the noise from windmills to cancer.”
Nonetheless, National Wind Watch (NWW), a group that “promotes awareness of and documents the negative impacts of industrial-scale wind turbines,” suggested that the effects of stress and sleeplessness lead to the development of cancer.
“Do stress and lack of sleep contribute to the development of cancer? Yes. Does wind turbine noise raise stress levels and interrupt sleep? Yes,” a spokesperson told TheDCNF.
The evidence that stress causes cancer is weak, says the National Cancer Institute. There may be an association between sleep disruptions and some types of cancer, however, not all studies show that wind turbine noise causes sleeplessness in the first place. A 2016 study from Health Canada found no statistically significant relationship.
“There simply is no hard evidence to support any of these claims,” Neel said when asked about NWW’s assertion. “And what claims like these really do is distract attention from the well-documented and much more important causes of cancer: smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, excess sun exposure, HPV, excessive alcohol.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
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