February 1, 2004
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: Dollar General, a variety store chain based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for peddling a wide assortment of noisy toys, including leaf blowers, an Electric Light and Sound Weed Trimmer, jackhammers, an electric chain saw, and an electric “Mini Boom Sax.” Dollar General has 6,700 stores in 27 states.
“Dollar General apparently thinks it’s ‘cute’ for boys and girls to imitate their parents’ noise-making behavior,” commented Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director. “Dollar General is promoting the idea that making noise is a fun family activity. Children who play with noisy toys will most likely become adults who play with noisy power equipment.”
Many children are regularly exposed to loud noise. While decibel levels above 85 are considered dangerous, many toy rattles produce 110 decibels. Toy phones are as loud as 129 decibels, and cap guns have been measured at 140 decibels. Unfortunately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission does not have regulations governing the loudness of toys.
America’s noise epidemic is dangerous to kids’ hearing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one out of eight children between the ages of 6 and 19 suffer from noise-related hearing loss.
Dollar General brags that its Literacy Foundation provides grants to promote literacy. “But has Dollar General ever considered the fact that its noisy toys worsen the ability of children to learn?” stated Rueter. “Noise is a serious threat to children’s learning and health. Many children suffer from acoustic trauma.”
Carla Moore of Youngstown, Ohio commented that “Dollar General is nurturing a whole new army of noise soldiers to attack the peace of the American public. Parents who hate noise from boom cars, vroom cars, leaf blowers, chain saws, and motorcycles should not buy noisy toys from Dollar General. Parents undermine the peace they seek by buying their kids noisy toys.”
Rueter stated, “America is a very noisy place. Stores are full of noisy drums, tambourines, shakers, rattles, whistles, horns, bird calls, electric guitars, and bongos. It’s time for chains like Dollar General to show greater concern for the welfare of America’s children, and stop peddling noisy toys.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens group opposed to noise pollution. Its web site is http://noisefree.org. Past “winners” of the award include Flowmaster, Governor Jesse Ventura, and Youngstown, Ohio.