ISO acknowledges motion sickness from low-frequency oscillatory motion below 1 Hz

Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD
March 30, 2017

Noise engineer Richard James just sent to me the attached section of a standards statement by the International Standards Organization (ISO) regarding exposure to low-frequency oscillatory motion, of which I consider the air pressure pulsations produced by wind turbines to be a subset. I have generally called these low-frequency air pressure pulsations infrasound, since sound waves in air are rhythmic or oscillatory variations in air pressure. At higher frequencies these oscillatory variations in air pressure are perceived as sound. Infrasound means "below the range of human hearing."

(If you’re not familiar with the ISO, it is the global authority setting all manner of industrial standards, including noise standards. Click here for a more thorough explanation of what the ISO does.)

In this document (attached), the ISO is acknowledging as a state of common and shared knowledge that low-frequency oscillatory motion produces (a) human body mechanical resonance phenomena above 1 Hz (such as the chest vibratory phenomena that are a prominent part of Wind Turbine Syndrome) and (b) motion sensitivity (vertigo, nausea, and related mental components) below 1 Hz. (Hz stands for Hertz.)

With this being common knowledge, why, then, have these symptoms been denied in those experiencing them in proximity to wind turbines and directly correlated with wind turbine function?

Since it is well established that IWT’s (Industrial Wind Turbines) produce pulsed infrasound below 1 Hz, this suggests that people around the world who experience motion sickness from wind turbines are not “making it up.” They are not fabricating these symptoms. Their symptoms are not Simon Chapman’s silly “nocebo effect.” The symptoms are — real! Really and truly caused by IWT infrasound.

Mr. James cites the following passages from the current ISO manual, ISO 9996:1996 “Mechanical vibration and shock — Disturbance to human activity and performance — Classification.” Notice the passages highlighted in red and those underlined by my husband, Calvin Martin. The underlined passages are a gentle way of saying that the instruments used by wind companies to detect 1 Hz and below are inadequate, and moreover the “remediation” or “mitigation” efforts used by wind companies to eliminate these physiological impacts are absurd.

3 Definitions

For the purposes of this International Standard, the definitions given in ISO 2041 and ISO 5805 and the following definitions apply. ...

3.6 low-frequency motion

Continuous or transient oscillatory motion of components of the vibration spectrum affecting human beings at frequencies below 1 Hz.

Note 1 to entry:  The conventional frequency of 1 Hz separating low-frequency oscillatory motion from what is popularly known as "vibration" (although no such distinction exists in physics) is not entirely arbitrary and has some practical significance when dealing with human exposure to vibration. For instance, mechanical resonance phenomena in humans occur mainly at frequencies above 1 Hz, while motion sickness is provoked only by oscillatory motions at frequencies below about 1 Hz. As another practical matter, specialized inertial instrumentation and analytical techniques may be called for when recording and evaluating motion of very low frequency and large displacement amplitude. Moreover vibration isolation and conventional vibration control engineering techniques may not be readily applicable at very low frequencies.

3.11 sensory

Pertaining to the organs and physiological mechanisms by which the human brain acquires information ("input") about the world, enabling human beings to know, relate to, and influence the external world by volitional action. Sensory organs and neural mechanisms also subserve an internal function, which may be conscious or unconscious, namely, permitting the living body to monitor and respond to its own physiological state and to changes in that state arising from internal or external causes.

Note 1 to entry:  Low-frequency motion and vibration are perceived by means of a variety of sensory organs and receptors. These include the eye, the vestibular (balance) organs of the inner ear, and a range of microscopic organs (mechano-receptors) distributed in the tissues throughout the living body that variously signal changing pressure, tension, position, vibratory motion, etc. The organs of special sense, particularly of hearing and sight, also provide motion and vibration cues to the brain in many circumstances.

I have attached a PDF of the ISO document, courtesy of Richard James. Scroll through the PDF to find the passages quoted above, highlighted in yellow.

Click here for computer translation

Click here for computer translation