Nina Pierpont: Discredited Time and Time Again

Nina Pierpont is a pediatrician and an opponent of wind turbines. In a 2009 book she authored, Pierpont invented the term, “Wind Turbine Syndrome.”

Since then, Pierpont’s theories have been widely discredited by the scientific community, which points to severe flaws in her research methodology and lack of statistical validity, among other problems.

We pulled together the five major flaws in Pierpont’s theory about wind turbines:

Experts dispute the premise of Pierpont’s theory.

  • A panel of medical doctors, audiologists and acoustical professionals – including Dr. Robert J. McCunney of MIT – concluded, “There is no evidence that the sounds, nor the sub-audible vibrations, emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects on humans.“ (Expert Panel Review, 2009)

Pierpont used a sample size that was not valid.

  • Pierpont’s study included just 38 people in 5 counties who at some point lived near wind turbines. “[N]o conclusions on the health impact of wind turbines can be drawn from Pierpont’s work due to methodological limitations including small sample size, lack of exposure data, lack of controls and selection bias.” (Dr. Arlene King, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, 2010)

Pierpont did not see her “subjects” in person nor did she medically examine them.

Pierpont’s work was not properly peer reviewed.

  • Pierpont’s work was never properly peer reviewed, as she claims. Instead, “she showed [her work] to people she selected and then published some of their responses, including that by Oxford University’s Lord Robert May, whose subsequent public silence on the issue may suggest a re-think.”Without proper peer review, it is difficult if not impossible to assess the validity of claimed scientific findings. (Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, 2010)

There were no recorded complaints from anyone else.

  • There is no record of complaints or symptoms of so-called “Wind Turbine Syndrome” from owners of the land on which the turbines actually sit. (TreeHugger, 2011)

9 Responses to Nina Pierpont: Discredited Time and Time Again

  1. Mike Barnard says:

    Ms. Pierpont is merely a person who hated the thought of their local area changing when a wind farm was proposed. Together with her husband, the obscenity-promoting Calvin Luther Martin (he wrote and promotes a potty-mouthed little diatribe about how to fight wind farms and tells people to use obscenities because being polite doesn’t work), they became local anti-wind activists. Their egos were satiated by the attention of the tiny minority they came in contact with, and they decided to live entirely inside the echo chamber. Logic, facts and deeply credible peer-reviewed studies finding no issues bounce off.

    This led to her quite awful ‘study’ and it’s quite awful outcome, the Wind Turbine Syndrome book.

    For more on Ms. Pierpont’s book, read the Amazon.com comments on it (top 5 rated reviews call it BS) and this: http://www.quora.com/Wind-Power/Is-Dr-Nina-Pierpoints-Wind-Turbine-Syndrome-a-real-medical-syndrome-caused-by-wind-turbines/answer/Mike-Barnard

  2. Geoff Leventhall says:

    There are other problems with Pierpont’s work. The whole “theoretical” basis with which she tries to prop up the wind turbine syndrome is badly flawed. She blames it all on infrasound, but she has misused the work of others – leading to one real scientist publicly repudiating her manipulation of his publications. Other papers, which she quotes in support of her ideas, relate to whole body vibration, not exposure to sound. But she seems to switch between vibration and sound at will. From the scientific point of view, it is all rather sad and shabby.

    Pierpont is easier to understand once you realise that she is primarily a campaigner, incorrectly claiming “scientific precision”. What a sick joke that is!

    • Andy says:

      Nina Pierpont’s “work” would be considered much more viable if her husband wasn’t a rabid anti-wind activist. All major governments and mainstream audiologists discredit nina pierpont to date. Household appliances and vehiclar traffic propogate more infrasound that a modern day turbine!!! You don’t see anyone fall terribly ill to their dishwasher (even if it was running 24/7!), do you? Pierpont also selectively researched opponents of wind farms while failing to talk to leaseholders at all. And give me a break about that “gag order” crap! A) most wind companies don’t have a so called “gag order” in their lease. B) Even if there was a “gag order” it’s not enforcable! if it was really a problem, a couple of the several hundreds of thousands of people with leases next to wind turbines world wide would have said something by now! Additionally, all the windfarms she looked at had rear downwind facing blades. All modern day wind turbines are designed with their blades facing upwind to reduce noise.

      Fear is a powerful thing. Don’t let it degrade your scientific merit, Nina Pierpont.

    • Elliot Davis says:

      Leventhall you are the LAST PERSON with a right to criticise Pierpont

      Consider this everyone:Dr Geoff Leventhall  a so called expert who denies the impact of infrasound on the human vestibular system, yet he  is not a medical doctor, has no training in medical matters, and has never published anything related to human health., even he, the writer of the DEFRA 2003 report into LOW frequency noise admitted last year..”as environmental noise control criteria are A-weighted, they tend to under-rate potentially problematic low frequency environmental noise.
      (Australian Federal Senate Wind Farms Report. June 2011

      The man who is oft quoted all over the turbine industry AND IS ON THE RENEWABLES UK WEBSITE TODAY stating: 
      ” There are no harmful infrasound effects from wind turbines.” and elsewhere that “infrasound from wind turbines is in audible and  is of no consequence”

      Although these assertions sound pretty absolute there are two major problems with them. First is the idea that what you can’t hear can’t harm you. This is of course rubbish, akin to saying xrays can’t harm you because you can’t see them. Second is that when did this non medic Leventhall ever go into a home that is reported to be having problems and actually measured the infrasound levels.

      Is this the same  Leventhall who ALSO said there was no doubt people living near the turbines suffered a range of symptoms, including abnormal heart beats, sleep disturbance, headaches, tinnitus, nausea, visual blurring, panic attacks and general irritability.

      “I have lots of people phoning me up and telling me that it’s ruining their lives – and it’s genuine,” he said.
      Geoff Leventhall, another coauthor of the wind industry sponsored “Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects”, reportedly elaborated:

      Are these people mad? Is leventhall taking the Mickey?

      • Elliott, what are your qualifications to speak on the matter? Why are you not equally critical of Sarah Laurie for parading around the countryside worrying people unnecessarily when she doesn’t understand anything about the science of sound and confuses the terminology? Your selective criticism says a lot about your lack of objectivity.

  3. Mark says:

    Owner’s of land on which turbines sit are compensated for productivity loss of the land footprint. They can get an income for doing nothing. Why should they complain? It would be better to just move away if you were one of those affected. (since you could probably now afford to)

  4. mtuma djibouti says:

    Re; “No record of complaints by landowners” – a very little effort on your part would have easily explained this.

    The wind industry is notorious for requiring gag orders in all contracts with landowners where turbines are built. When the wind industry leases land, their contracts invariably include gag orders which require the land owners to NEVER speak publicly about their experience living with wind. The contracts even have clauses requiring that any consultations landowners make with attorneys, audio engineers, physicians – or anyone – are only permitted if the landowners obtain written contractual gag orders from the professionals with whom they wish to consult. These contracts are further unusual in that they require perpetuity – the gag order is ad infinitum – forever – even when the leases expire! In numerous cases when faced with particularly vocal unhappy landowners who are perceived to be a threat, the wind industry has bought out the affected land owners. ALWAYS the wind industry requires the landowners to sign gag orders before the sale is consummated.

    Tell me – if there’s no problem with wind – why the need for gag orders? If there’s no problem with wind – why the bizarre and extraordinary stringency of the gag orders used by the industry?

    windaction.org is an excellent resource on industrial wind. It’s a website that simply publishes links to articles from around the world that address experiences with wind. Most are links to articles by mainstream media.

    • Sam Haynes says:

      YOU ARE EXACTLY RIGHT, Mtuma. Thank you for pointing this out. Wind Turbine Syndrome IS a reality. Simply ask some people living within a certain distance from the HUGE Industrial Turbines (420 feet, plus) (Oh yes, a football field is 300 feet, The Statue of Liberty is 305 feet.)
      The corporations that are rushing to get the beefy subsidies from the Government care nothing for healthy “Set Back Distances” of the turbines from homes and schools! So, people suffer. AND Yes…WHY THE DEMAND FOR GAG ORDERS if there is nothing that the industrial wind turbine complex companies are hiding?

      • Get real Sam, try a little research of your own to find out exactly where Pierpoint, Laurie and other anti-wind cranks are coming from. If they were truly serious about their claims and had any respect for honesty, why would they practice such shabby methodology and break every rule of science regarding research? They rely on nothing more than anecdote which anybody with even a remote interest in science knows does not constitute evidence.

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