Noise exposure: new second-hand smoke issue


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Although noise exposure is not a new area of concern, it appears that more and more people are paying attention to the problem.

Another major news source in the US, The Washington Post, has focussed recently on noise exposure and how prevalent it is in the country. The Health and Science column of the newspaper ran an article on how noise exposure is becoming “the new second-hand smoke”.

The article gives the example of New York City, not a place known for being particularly calm and quiet. It reports that noise levels can reach 95 dB in Midtown Manhattan, a level that is far above the Federal government’s recommended average of not more than 70 dB. Interestingly, the 311 non-emergency call service in the city receives 50,000 calls a day, and the top-ranking complaint is none other than noise.

According to Bradley Vite, cited in the article, noise is the new second-hand smoke issue. Vite is a businessman from Elkhart, Indiana and helped push for regulations in this city, which come with some of the steepest fines for noise pollution in the United States. “It took decades to educate people on the dangers of second-hand smoke. We may need decades to show the impact of second-hand noise,” he said.

Concerning the newspaper’s home town, it reports that three-quarters of the roughly 145 daily helicopter flights in the Washington D.C. area are to or from the Pentagon, creating significant noise pollution. The article reports that the Pentagon has agreed to study the noise and how it could be minimized.

Source: The Washington Post