Noise pollution from fracking may harm human health. Brett Israel, UC Berkeley News, writes that “[f]racking creates noise at levels high enough to harm the health of people living nearby, according to the first peer-reviewed study to analyze the potential public health impacts of ambient noise related to fracking.” What kind of health impacts? The researchers found that “noise from fracking operations may contribute to adverse health outcomes in three categories, including anxiety, sleep disturbance and cardiovascular disease or other conditions that are negatively impacted by stress.” One more reason to end fracking. Click the link for a detailed description of the “complex symphony of noise types” associated with fracking activity.
It Might Be Noise Pollution. Max Ufberg, writing for Outside, introduces us to Davyd Betchkal, the National Park Service’s soundscape specialist in Alaska, who studies the parks’ natural acoustic environment to determine “the ecological impacts of human-made noise.” In doocumenting all 54 million acres of Alaska’s parks, Betchkal stated that two things are clear:
[S]ound is crucial to the health of plants and wildlife and everything from airplanes cruising overhead to the roaring of snowmobiles on the ground or the muffled ring of an iPhone in a jacket pocket affects—and often disrupts—the ambiance of our most precious natural areas.
To be clear, in the context of natural places, birdsong isn’t noise; the buzz of an airplane is. Sound, by contrast, is a protected resource under the Park Service’s foundational Organic Act of 1916 as part of the profile of a natural environment. According to an estimate by Park Service senior scientist Kurt Fristrup, a national park goer hears human-created noise, much of it aviation-related, during about 25 percent of his or her visit.
“Noise is just as ubiquitous and broad in its impacts on the continent as air pollution,” Fristrup says.
Ufberg points outs that noise is linked to cardiovascular disease and elevated blood pressure, among other ills, noting that the Environmental Protection Agency classified noise as a pollutant since 1970. “While [noise] poses a greater risk in cities,” writes Ufberg, “it’s increasingly become an issue in nature, too.”
Click the link to learn about how noise harms wildlife and how the Park Service is working to protect them and us from noise pollution in our national parks.
So are a handful of members of congress serving Massachusetts, who “are calling on the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study about the health effects of air traffic noise and pollution on humans.”
The request for more research follows on the heels of a five-fold increase in aircraft noise complaints with the Massachusetts Port Authority. Citing a joint public health 2013 study by Harvard University and Boston University showing a link between exposure to aircraft noise and cardiovascular disease, the request asks for research on the health impacts from noise and jet emissions, such as carbon dioxide.