Report: Can't We All Just Quiet Down a Little

Associated Press SHARE

By Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press

WASHINGTON—OK folks, quiet down out there.

That's the word from the National Academy of Engineering, which said Thursday the government should take steps to make America a quieter place.

Loud noises can damage hearing and even lower levels can disrupt sleep patterns, according to the study.

"Reducing the noise levels to which Americans are exposed will require cooperation among engineers, industrial management and government in many disciplines and it will not be accomplished in a short time," the report noted.

Major sources of noise are transportation, machinery and consumer products, the report concluded.

It noted that European manufacturers have been more active in developing quieter products to meet stricter standards there, and suggested that American companies work to make their products more competitive.

"Buy quiet" programs would help by encouraging consumers to look for quieter products, the report said.

It recommended that:

  • The Department of Labor review and lower limits on occupational noise exposure.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency be made the lead agency in a public-private effort on noise measurement, reduction and control.
  • The government perform cost-benefit analyses to compare noise reducing pavement technology with the installation of noise barriers.
  • EPA help develop a system of labeling product noise through international agreements.

The National Academy of Engineering is a sister agency to the National Academy of Sciences. The academies are independent organizations chartered by Congress to advise the government on scientific matters.

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