Interesting Research Sheds Possible Light on Fracking Complaints

In a post that could be considered enlightening, amusing, or both, the anti-fossil fuel, anti-fracking blog DeSmogBlog has an article about recent research done on claims made about the negative health impacts of wind turbines.

Basically, the research involved "infrasound," noise which is at such a low frequency that it is undetectable to the human ear.  Many claim that infrasound from wind turbines is responsible for reports of health problems by people living near turbines.  So researchers took one group (termed the "high expectancy" group) and showed them reports of all of the scary stories about infrasound before telling them they would then be exposed to two 10 minute periods of infrasound.  In reality the researchers were then exposing them to a 10 minute period of real infrasound and then a 10 minute period of sham or no infrasound.  Another group was shown clips of scientists stating that infrasound was not likely to cause health problems before being likewise exposed to real and fake infrasound.

The results were what you are probably expecting:
The response from the "high expectancy" group was to report that the "infrasound" had caused them to experience more symptoms which were more intense. This was the case whether they were exposed to sham infrasound or genuine infrasound. The report explains that "the number of symptoms reported and the intensity of the symptom experienced during listening sessions were not affected by exposure to infrasound but were influenced by expectancy group allocation."
In the low expectancy group, the infrasound and sham infrasound had little to no effect. In other words, the study found that if a person is told that wind turbines will make them ill then they are likely to report symptoms, regardless of whether they are exposed to infrasound or not.
So, the conclusion from the researchers and DeSmogBlog:
Clearly, this points the finger at anti-wind farm campaigns as a potential cause of people's symptoms, rather than "infrasound" from turbines. The research added: "The importance of findings in this study is that symptom expectations were created by viewing TV material readily available on the Internet, indicating the potential for such expectations to be created outside of the laboratory in real-world settings." 
That certainly does seem the logical conclusion to reach from the study, but to me it raised another question.

Could this research be applied to all of the scary reports floating around about fracking and what impact they have had on people's tendency to report ailments when they live near oil and gas development?  Obviously a site like DeSmogBlog is not going to make that corelation, but it is an interesting question to ponder.

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Popular posts from this blog

Fracktivist in Dimock Releases Carefully Edited Video, Refuses to Release the Rest

The Second Largest Oil and Gas Merger - Cabot and Cimarex

Josh Fox Takes Another Approach to Attacking Oil & Gas Industry: They Don't Care About Worker Safety