We all agree that excessive noise — audible output created by other people — is annoying. But were you aware that noise pollution is an environmental hazard? According to a report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2018 and supported by the most rigorous, evidence-based research, noise pollution contributes to heart and circulatory disease, hearing impairment, adverse birth conditions, and mental health and a host of other ailments threatening to diminish our quality of life.
The Noise Control Act of 1972 authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate noise emissions from machinery, appliances, motor vehicles, and other commercial products. Until 1981, when Congress voted to stop paying for it, the EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) was responsible for the act’s implementation. After that, the responsibility devolved to local authorities.
Former U.S. Surgeon General William H. Stewart (1965-1969) is quoted as saying that “Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience.” He went on to claim that excessive noise is a threat and should be considered a health hazard.
Construction machinery is known to produce dangerously high levels of noise.
What Did The Noise Control Act Of 1972 Cover?
When President Nixon signed the act into law on October 27, 1972, he said that the “most significant sources of noise,” involved interstate commerce and could only be regulated by federal government. He was referring not only to noise-making goods such as motor vehicles, jackhammers, engines, etc., but also to the conveyances that carried the products across state lines, meaning buses, trucks, and trains.
How Does The Act Affect You?
If you live in a city and have a heartbeat, young children, or try to get a decent night’s sleep, too much noise can plainly disrupt your health and well-being in any number of ways. In 1993, the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act made street noise a statutory nuisance and applied to vehicles, loudspeakers, and other machinery.
Rest assured, action is being taken on a legislative level – all that is needed is for the the requirements to be met by vehicle operators, construction companies, venues, and other businesses to ensure harm from noise is minimized.
Making a difference
Echo Barrier makes temporary acoustic barriers to screen noise on construction sites, for oil & gas, utility repairs, mines, events, and more. We pride ourselves on spreading awareness on noise pollution and advocating change.