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Noise: A Public Health Problem

Noise: A Public Health Problem

Jamie Banks - Quiet Communities

January 26, 2024

2nd Annual Shifting Paradigms Conference


In 2006, the US Surgeon General declared the "debate is over" – any form of secondhand smoke is harmful to health. Scientific evidence on harm from environmental noise has reached a similar tipping point. In the fifty plus years since environmental noise was first announced as a public health problem, little if any progress has been made in protecting the American public from its harmful effects largely due to the defunding of the federal Office of Noise Abatement and Control in 1982. Today, noise, labeled “the new secondhand smoke,” is threatening the health of one-third of all Americans. This informational session provides an overview of noise as a public health problem. It will discuss the state of the science on noise and its adverse health effects – auditory and non-auditory; its nexus with climate and environmental impacts; worker and environmental justice issues; and the state of public policy.

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