November 1, 2004
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: The United States Congress has won this month’s “Noisy Dozen” award from Noise Free America for failing to fund programs to reduce noise pollution. Because of Congress’ inaction, millions of Americans continue to suffer from the scourge of noise.
In 1972, Congress passed the Noise Control Act, which declared that “it is the policy of the United States to promote an environment for all Americans free from noise that jeopardizes their health or welfare.” To implement the Noise Control Act, Congress established the Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) within the Environmental Protection Agency. ONAC raised public awareness about the dangers of noise pollution, created noise emissions standards, and assisted state and local governments with their noise reduction efforts.
“However,” stated Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, “in 1981, the Reagan administration eliminated all funding for the EPA’s anti-noise pollution efforts, and Congress acquiesced. Quite simply, for more than 20 years, Congress has failed to protect the American people against the hazards of noise.”
The Quiet Communities Act, introduced by New York Representative Nita Lowey of New York, would reinstate the Office of Noise Abatement and Control. Unfortunately, the legislation has gone nowhere in Congress.
Noise pollution is pervasive. The EPA estimates that more than 130 million Americans live in areas which exceed acceptable decibel levels. In the last 15 years, noise levels in major US cities have increased six-fold.
Noise pollution is very hazardous to human health. “Of the 28 million cases of hearing loss in the United States, at least 10 percent are due to noise exposure,” stated Noise Free America’s Rueter. “Excessive noise,” Rueter continued, “is also related to stress, heightened blood pressure, sleep deprivation, and aggravation. Noise is a dangerous pollutant that is harmful to human well-being. Congress should protect the American people from this growing danger.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens group opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Circuit City, Echo Manufacturing, and Congressman Darrell Issa. Noise Free America’s web site is http://noisefree.org.