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Trump Falsely Claims Noise From Wind Turbines Causes Cancer

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Trump Falsely Claims Noise From Wind Turbines Causes Cancer
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One in 2017. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images

At a National Republican Congressional Committee event Tuesday night, President Donald Trump took his war on wind power to the next level.


"If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 per cent in value," Trump said, as The Independent reported. "And they say the noise causes cancer. You tell me that one, okay? Rerrrr rerrrr!"

Watch the clip below:


The cancer claim, as Jonathan Chait pointed out in New York Magazine, is not true. There has been opposition to wind turbines on the basis of long-standing beliefs that low-frequency sound can disturb sleep, trigger anxiety and cause nausea and other health problems, The Atlantic explained. but no scientific experiments have verified these claims.

"Cancer is not caused by noises of any kind," Chait wrote.

Social media was quick to counter Trump's remarks, The Huffington Post reported. Wired columnist Maryn McKenna took the opportunity to link to a study published in March that found no connection between wind turbine noise and heart attack or stroke. Researchers had conducted the study because of claims that wind turbine noise was more annoying than noise from traffic.

During his remarks Tuesday, Trump repeated claims he has made about wind turbines before, that they reduce property values and harm birds.

"And of course, it's like a graveyard for birds," he said Tuesday, as The Washington Post reported. "If you love birds, you'd never want to walk under a windmill."

Wind turbines do kill birds, but at a much lesser rate than other forms of power. A 2009 study cited by Chait found that fossil-fuel plants killed nearly 15 times the number of birds as wind turbines. So why does Trump hate wind turbines so much?

The Washington Post's Philip Bump wrote that it dated back to Trump's fight against a wind farm that had been scheduled to go up off the coast of Aberdeenshire in Scotland, where he had bought land to start a gulf course in 2006. Trump sued to stop the farm, but was not successful. He also initiated a public relations campaign against Scottish politicians backing the project and against wind power itself, tweeting any negative coverage he could find. As part of that blitz, he did retweet a story in 2012 claiming that wind power had negative health impacts, though no such impacts have been confirmed by scientists. Tuesday likely marks the first time he has claimed wind power causes cancer, Bump said.

Chait observed that Trump is selective in his health concerns when it comes to energy.

A power source that does cause many health problems, including cancer, is coal, an extremely dirty fuel Trump loves and has attempted to bolster, with almost no success. Aside from costing more to produce than other sources of power, and in addition to enormous air pollution side effects, coal also emits greenhouse gases in large amounts. Though this, of course, is another aspect of science Trump rejects.

Bump also noted that Trump's anti-wind stance dovetailed neatly with Republican policy.

"As climate change became a sharply polarized issue, Trump was prepared for the fight thanks to his battle over that wind farm near his golf course in Scotland," Bump wrote.

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