Quiet Communities is pleased to announce the formation of a national council of health advisors on environmental noise and pollution. The Health Advisory Council is comprised of leading physicians and researchers in environmental health, pediatrics, noise, and other disciplines who will advise Quiet Communities on matters of public and worker health relating to pollution and noise emanating from outdoor power equipment used in landscape maintenance, construction, and agriculture. The purpose of the HAC is to inform policy makers on the impacts of noise and air pollution on public health with particular emphasis on vulnerable populations, including workers, children, seniors, and people with chronic illness. The council is already hard at work.
Recently, Interim Chair, Dr Daniel Fink, requested that the US Centers for Disease Control (NIOSH and OSHA), Surgeon General, Food and Drug Administration and other agencies clarify levels of sound sufficient to protect hearing. As noted in Dr Fink’s recent blog, statements by organizations including the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association suggested 85 decibels (dB) was the safety standard above which permanent hearing loss occurs; the Environmental Protection Agency indicated 70 dB in its 1974 report. In response to Dr Fink’s inquiries, a February 8 blog post from staff at NIOSH and the US Public Health Service distinguished 85 dB as an occupational standard intended to protect the hearing of workers and 70 dB is the standard to protect the hearing of the public. Watch for our forthcoming publication on noise authored by members of the council.