Technophobia may be hazardous to your health

The notion that winfarms are somehow related to health problems are more likely due to people saying they do than anything else, according to a recent Australian study: (the actual article is Chapman, Simon. “The sickening truth about wind farm syndrome.” New Scientist 216.2885 (2012): 26-27.)

The author has been studying this phenomenon for a while, and as he remarks himself, this is just another point in a series that include EMF hypersensitivity, supposed hazardous effects of power lines, cell phones, artificial sweeteeners, vaccines and so on and so forth.

Is there a possibility that any (or all) of  those things do present a threat to public health? Well, it is hard to say a definite “no” to that question, but as far as our knowledge goes, based on a number of studies done with all of them, no serious threat has been detected so far. Unless new data shows up, there is not much sense in losing sleep over these issues, especially when there are so many known threats – like tobacco – that should actually require more action.

But all those things share a common trait: they are technological products, poorly understood by most people, that, in my opinion, elicit this kind of reaction due to the ambivalent relatioship most people have with science and its products.

By all means, new stuff does pose new, unforeseen risks, and should be thoroughly assessed before allowing the introduction of certain products in the market, and many a protection agency has gone derelict on duty, so it is reasonable to be alert to such things. But it is also advisable to know how to assess such risks, and not simply distrust any and everything because they are “artificial”, “chemistry”, or “too sciencey”.


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