Waubra Foundation

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The Waubra Foundation describes itself as an advocacy group for properly conducted, multidisciplinary research into alleged health problems reported by people living in the vicinity of wind turbines and other industrial uses. The foundation is named after the town of Waubra, Victoria Australia, but is not linked to it in any other way. The town is home to the 128 turbine Waubra Wind Farm.

Wind turbine device that converts wind energy into mechanical and electric energy

A wind turbine, or alternatively referred to as a wind energy converter, is a device that converts the wind's kinetic energy into electrical energy.

Waubra Town in Victoria, Australia

Waubra is a town in Victoria, Australia. The town is on the Sunraysia Highway, 33 kilometres (21 mi) north west of Ballarat and split between the Pyrenees Shire and City of Ballarat local government areas. At the 2016 census, Waubra and the surrounding area had a population of 275.

Waubra Wind Farm

The Waubra wind farm is located on both sides of the Sunraysia Highway 35 km north-west of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. It is the fourth largest wind farm in Australia and was the largest wind farm by number of turbines and total capacity in the southern hemisphere upon its completion in July 2009.

Contents

Pseudo scientific claims

Claims made by the Waubra Foundation relating to wind turbine syndrome and wind farm syndrome are considered pseudo scientific and are not recognised as actual diseases by any international disease classification system, nor do they appear in any title or abstract in the United States National Library of Medicine's PubMed database. Wind turbine syndrome has been characterized as pseudoscience. Since 2003, 25 reviews have been published of the scientific literature on wind turbines and health. These studies have consistently found no reason to believe that wind turbines are harmful to health. [1]

United States National Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library

The United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), operated by the United States federal government, is the world's largest medical library.

PubMed Online database with abstracts of medical articles, hosted by US National Library of Medicine

PubMed is a free search engine accessing primarily the MEDLINE database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. The United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health maintains the database as part of the Entrez system of information retrieval.

Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that are claimed to be both scientific and factual, but are incompatible with the scientific method. Pseudoscience is often characterized by contradictory, exaggerated or unfalsifiable claims; reliance on confirmation bias rather than rigorous attempts at refutation; lack of openness to evaluation by other experts; and absence of systematic practices when developing theories, and continued adherence long after they have been experimentally discredited. The term pseudoscience is considered pejorative because it suggests something is being presented as science inaccurately or even deceptively. Those described as practicing or advocating pseudoscience often dispute the characterization.

History

The Foundation was originally known as the 'Waubra Disease Foundation' after claims that health problems reported by some residents of Waubra were caused by wind turbines. The Waubra Foundation has claimed that wind turbines have a mental and physical health impact on some people, largely as a result of infrasound. The Foundation claims the following symptoms are consistent with the impacts of wind turbine proximity: sleep disturbance, headache including migraines, tinnitus, ear pressure (often described as painful), balance problems / dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, irritability, problems with concentration and memory, panic episodes, and tachycardia (fast heart rate). [2] In 2009, the term Wind Turbine Syndrome was coined to encompass the broad range of symptoms described by complainants living near turbines. The Foundation has published reports from sufferers of wind turbine syndrome symptoms living as far as 17 kilometres from the nearest turbine.

Infrasound vibrations with frequencies lower than 20 hertz

Infrasound, sometimes referred to as low-frequency sound, is sound that is lower in frequency than 20 Hz or cycles per second, the "normal" limit of human hearing. Hearing becomes gradually less sensitive as frequency decreases, so for humans to perceive infrasound, the sound pressure must be sufficiently high. The ear is the primary organ for sensing infrasound, but at higher intensities it is possible to feel infrasound vibrations in various parts of the body.

Migraine brain disease characterized by recurrent headaches on one side

A migraine is a primary headache disorder characterized by recurrent headaches that are moderate to severe. Typically, the headaches affect one half of the head, are pulsating in nature, and last from a few hours to 3 days. Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell. The pain is generally made worse by physical activity. Up to one-third of people have an aura: typically a short period of visual disturbance that signals that the headache will soon occur. Occasionally, an aura can occur with little or no headache following it.

Tinnitus perception of sound within the human ear ("ringing of the ears") when no external sound is present

Tinnitus is the hearing of sound when no external sound is present. While often described as a ringing, it may also sound like a clicking, hiss or roaring. Rarely, unclear voices or music are heard. The sound may be soft or loud, low pitched or high pitched and appear to be coming from one ear or both. Most of the time, it comes on gradually. In some people, the sound causes depression or anxiety and can interfere with concentration.

In November 2013, Senator Richard Di Natale, at that time health spokesperson for the Australian Greens, and former general practitioner, lodged a written complaint with both the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and the Australian Tax Office, questioning the Waubra Foundation's qualification as a health promotion charity, on the basis that the foundation’s claims are false and misleading, and that they might actually be causing harm. [3] [4] On 11 December 2014, the ACNC revoked the foundation’s registration as a health promotion charity, [5] with the Assistant Commissioner saying, "It is not possible for me to find that the Foundation's principal activity promotes the prevention or control of disease in human beings". [6] In December 2017, the decision was affirmed after a failed appeal. [7]

Richard Di Natale Australian politician

Richard Luigi Di Natale is an Australian politician who serves as a senator for Victoria and leads the Australian Greens. Di Natale was elected to the Australian Senate in the 2010 federal election. A former general practitioner, Di Natale became federal parliamentary leader of the Australian Greens on 6 May 2015 following the resignation of Christine Milne and led the Greens at the 2 July 2016 federal election.

Australian Greens Australian political party

The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, are a green political party in Australia.

General practitioner Type of medical doctor specialising as a generalist, usually working in primary care setting

In the medical profession, a general practitioner (GP) is a medical doctor who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education to patients.

Related Research Articles

Health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition has been subject to controversy, as it may have limited value for implementation. Health may be defined as the ability to adapt and manage physical, mental and social challenges throughout life.

Restless legs syndrome central nervous system disease characterized by throbbing, pulling creeping or other unpleasant sensations in the legs and the irresistible urge to move them

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a generally a long term disorder that causes a strong urge to move one's legs. There is often an unpleasant feeling in the legs that improves somewhat with moving them. This is often described as aching, tingling, or crawling in nature. Occasionally the arms may also be affected. The feelings generally happen when at rest and therefore can make it hard to sleep. Due to the disturbance in sleep, people with RLS may have daytime sleepiness, low energy, irritability, and a depressed mood. Additionally, many have limb twitching during sleep.

Wind farm group of wind turbines

A wind farm or wind park, also called a wind power station or wind power plant, is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electricity. A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines and cover an extended area of hundreds of square miles, but the land between the turbines may be used for agricultural or other purposes. A wind farm can also be located offshore.

Charitable organization non-profit organization with a charitable purpose

A charitable organization or charity is a non-profit organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being.

Michael Richard Lewis Wooldridge is an Australian doctor, company director, and a former politician. He was a Member of the Australian House of Representatives for the Liberal Party representing the Division of Chisholm, Victoria, between 1987 and 1998, and representing the Division of Casey, Victoria, between 1998 and 2001. He was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from March 1993 to May 1994.

National Heart Foundation of Australia The National Heart Foundation of Australia is a charity that funds lifesaving cardiovascular research. It works to improve heart disease prevention and care for all Australians.

The National Heart Foundation of Australia is a charity established in 1959. Its stated vision is for Australians to have the best cardiovascular health in the world and its mission is to reduce suffering and death from heart, stroke and blood vessel disease in Australia. Its activities have been funding cardiovascular research, supporting health professionals in their practice, developing health promotion activities, informing and educating the public, and assisting people with cardiovascular disease.

Brendan Gullifer is an Australian writer based in Melbourne who was chief of staff to the independent Victorian senator John Madigan.

Simon Fenton Chapman, AO is an Australian academic and tobacco control activist.

Community wind energy

Community wind projects are locally owned by farmers, investors, businesses, schools, utilities, or other public or private entities who utilize wind energy to support and reduce energy costs to the local community. The key feature is that local community members have a significant, direct financial stake in the project beyond land lease payments and tax revenue. Projects may be used for on-site power or to generate wholesale power for sale, usually on a commercial-scale greater than 100 kW.

Environmental impact of wind power

The environmental impact of wind power when compared to the environmental impacts of fossil fuels, is relatively minor. Compared with other low carbon power sources, wind turbines have some of the lowest global warming potential per unit of electrical energy generated. According to the IPCC, in assessments of the life-cycle global warming potential of energy sources, wind turbines have a median value of between 15 and 11 depending on whether off- or onshore turbines are being assessed.

Neurological disorder Disease of anatomical entity that is located in the central nervous system or located in the peripheral nervous system

A neurological disorder is any disorder of the nervous system. Structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves can result in a range of symptoms. Examples of symptoms include paralysis, muscle weakness, poor coordination, loss of sensation, seizures, confusion, pain and altered levels of consciousness. There are many recognized neurological disorders, some relatively common, but many rare. They may be assessed by neurological examination, and studied and treated within the specialities of neurology and clinical neuropsychology.

Wind turbine syndrome and wind farm syndrome are terms for adverse human health effects that have been ascribed to the proximity of wind turbines. Proponents have claimed that these effects include death, cancer, and congenital abnormality. The distribution of recorded events, however, correlates with media coverage of wind farm syndrome itself, and not with the presence or absence of wind farms. Neither term is recognised by any international disease classification system, nor do they appear in any title or abstract in the United States National Library of Medicine's PubMed database. Wind turbine syndrome has been characterized as pseudoscience.

John Joseph Madigan is a former Australian politician. He was a member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), before resigning from the party and becoming an independent in September 2014. Madigan launched the John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party in 2015. He was elected to the Australian Senate with 2.3 percent of the primary vote in Victoria at the 2010 federal election, to serve a six-year term from July 2011. He failed to be re-elected at the 2016 double dissolution election, and the Manufacturing and Farming Party was voluntarily deregistered on 13 September 2016. Madigan joined the Australian Country Party in September 2016.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a medical condition characterized by long-term fatigue and other persistent symptoms that limit a person's ability to carry out ordinary daily activities.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is an Australian statutory body and the national regulator of the voluntary sector, including charities and other not for profits. Approximately 56,000 charities and non-profit organisations are registered with ACNC. Charities need to be registered with ACNC to be entitled to tax exempt status as well as certain other exemptions and benefits, such as an ability to give tax deductible receipts. The ACNC also seeks to harmonise state fundraising laws.

Shirley Wind

Shirley Wind is a wind farm in the Shirley section of Glenmore, Brown County, Wisconsin. The site, which opened in 2011, includes eight Nordex 2.5 wind turbines, each about 500 feet (150 m) tall. Originally developed by Emerging Energies LLC, it is owned by Duke Energy.

Stephanie Frances Bailey, more commonly known by the Australian Registered Business Name Stephanie Messenger, is an anti-vaccination activist, lecturer and author from Brisbane, Australia who believes her son was killed by vaccination. She writes children's books focusing on health and social issues, her most noteworthy being Melanie's Marvelous Measles which was published in 2012 but received considerable media attention after the Disneyland measles outbreak in 2014. Messenger organized a 2015 lecture tour of Australia for fellow anti-vaccinationist Sherri Tenpenny. The tour was cancelled due to public outcry over the anti-vaccination stance of the tour.

Vibroacoustic disease is a medical condition manifested in those who have had long-term exposure to large pressure amplitude and low frequency noise. The disease is said to lead to heart arrhythmia or even death.

References

  1. An abridged list of articles that demonstrates the pseudo scientific nature of the Waubra Foundation's claims:

    The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is Australia's national broadcaster founded in 1929. It is currently principally funded by direct grants from the Australian government, but is expressly independent of government and partisan politics. The ABC plays a leading role in journalistic independence and is fundamental in the history of broadcasting in Australia.

    <i>The Guardian</i> British national daily newspaper

    The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.

    <i>The Sydney Morning Herald</i> newspaper published in Sydney, Australia

    The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily compact newspaper in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia owned by Nine. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the SMH is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia and a national online news brand. The print version of the newspaper is published six days a week.

  2. "Symptoms". Waubra Foundation. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  3. "Greens challenge Waubra Foundation tax status". The Australian. 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  4. Heffernan, Madeline (2013-12-09). "Tax office deciding if anti-wind farm group Waubra is a charity". Sydney Morning Herlad. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  5. Conroy, John (2014-12-19). "Waubra loses 'health promotion' charity status" . Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  6. Sturmer, Jake (2014-12-19). "Waubra Foundation, prominent anti-wind farm lobby, stripped of health promotion charity status". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  7. Hannam, Peter (2017-12-05). "'Sound judgment' strips anti-wind Waubra Foundation of its low-tax status". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2019-01-15.