EPA Document Collection

About the EPA document collection held by the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse.

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Title Index: A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U W

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Most useful EPA documents

Title Index

Population Distribution of the United States as a Function of Outdoor Noise Level - Volume 2
June 1, 1974

This appendix provides a description of each of the 100 measurement sites utilized during this project. The computer output listings for each of the sites are also presented. Data are presented by city, in alphabetical order. Figures B-1 through B-14 show maps of the fourteen cities in which noise measurements were obtained. On each map the specific measurement locations are indicated. Figures B-15 through B-114 provide data for each of the sites. The first page of each figure, labeled Figure B-xx(a) provides a physical description of the site. A photo and vicinity map are shown, and the address, population density, and measured Ldn value are given. Also listed are various parameters of the traffic flow in the general vicinity of the site. The street on which the site is located, and the street in the vicinity of the site, are both classified into one of four categories: freeway, arterial, collector, and local. Also indicated are the types of vehicles that traverse these streets. Noise sources other than traffic that affect the noise environment at the site are also listed. The second page of the figure, labeled Figure B-xx(b), lists various statistics and noise levels for each hour of the day. Tabulated are the maximum and minimum values occurring during the hour, the noise pollution level (NPL), the standard deviation (SIG) of the distribution of levels occurring during the hour, the L-equivalent level (LEQ), and the traffic noise index (TNI). Various percentile levels ranging from L1 to L99 are also listed. Similar noise measures are tabulated for the daytime (0700-2200 hrs.) and nighttime (2200-0700 hrs.) periods on the final page, labeled Figure B-xx(c). Plotted at the top of this page is the distribution of levels for the daytime and nighttime periods. Also, the weighted 24-hour L-equivalent value, with weighting factors of 0, 8, 10, and 12 decibels for the nighttime period, are listed. Note that the weighted L-equivalent value for a weighting factor of 10 decibels is the day/night sound level (Ldn).

Pow! - Noise and Hearing Loss - NIH Consensus Development Conference
January 22, 1990

The National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference on Noise and Hearing Loss brought together biomedical and behavioral scientists, health care providers, and the public to address the characteristics of noise-induced hearing loss, acoustic parameters of hazardous noise exposure, individual and age-specific susceptibility, and prevention strategies. Following a day and a half of presentations by experts and discussion by the audience, a consensus panel weighed the evidence and prepared a consensus statement. Among their findings, the panel concluded that sounds of sufficient intensity and duration will damage the ear and result in temporary or permanent hearing loss at any age. Sound levels of less than 75 dB(A) are unlikely to cause permanent hearing loss, while sound levels above 85 dB(A) with exposure of 8 hours per day will produce permanent hearing loss after many years. Current scientific knowledge is inadequate to predict that any particular individual will be safe when exposed to a hazardous noise. Strategies to prevent damage from sound exposure should include the use of individual hearing protection devices, education programs beginning with school-age children, consumer guidance, increased product noise labeling, and hearing conservation programs for occupational settings.

Prediction of NIPTS Due to Continuous Noise Exposure
July 1, 1973

In support of the main document, "A Basis for Limiting Noise Exposure for Hearing Conservation," this report compares the relationship of noise exposure to Noise Induced Permanent Threshold Shift (NIPTS) as predicted by the currently available works of Passchier-Vermeer, Robinson, Baughn and Kryter, and the yet unpublished work of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. The works of Passchier-Vermeer, Robinson, and Baughn are selected since these are the only works that completely predict the relationship between NIPTS and noise exposure for various audiometric frequencies, sound pressure levels and population percentiles. The predictions of these three methodologies are averaged in order to provide one single relationship between continuous noise exposure and NIPTS. This relationship is presented in various ways so that the effect of noise exposure on hearing can be viewed in more than one way. Discussion concerning the type of frequency weighting, the equal energy rule, and long duration exposures is also provided.

Preparing For A Quieter Tomorrow
May 1, 1980

Preparing for a Quieter Tomorrow is an environmental noise module developed as an instructional guide for teachers of students in grades 7-12. The module provides lecture summaries, projects, field trips, experiments, recommended films, additional readings and questions designed to stimulate student interest and involvement. The goal of Preparing for a Quieter Tomorrow is to provide to the teachers the information necessary to create an awareness of noise as an environmental pollutant, explain the adverse effect of noise, identify major noise sources, describe noise control techniques and stimulate students involvement in working for a quieter environment in the community.

A Primary Teaching Pack - Noise - Based on Darlington, England's Quiet Town Experiment

This Teaching Pack has been prepared for Primary Schools under the auspices of the Darlington Quiet Town Experiment, a joint venture between Darlington Borough Council and the Department of the Environment. The Management Committee established a School's Working Group which, with the help and advice of teachers, has produced this set of Work Cards, Teacher's Notes, Pamphlets and References which form the basis for Centres of Interest using the theme of 'Noise'. It is hoped that the materials will form a useful aid for Teachers wishing to spark off oral and written language, discovery of information through reading, investigation, observation, recording, surveying and collecting as well as creative, artistic, imaginative, dramatic, mathematic and scientific activities covering the breadth of the curriculum.

Proceedings of the International Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem

In 1968, a Conference on Noise as a Public Health Hazard was organized by the American Speech and Hearing Association. At this conference, an attempt was made to bring together a group of speakers who could present summaries of the current state of knowledge ell all aspects of the "noise problem", ranging all tile way from fairly technical treatises to completely non-technical statements of personal opinion. Such a wide-ranging representation was judged to be necessary for the purpose of that conference, which was to present a broad overview of what "noise pollution" was all about, to government personnel and other intelligent laymen who saw that it was probably going to become a hot issue, and give at least a few examples of the scientific evidence underlying arguments about just what effects noise does have. At this time it was realized that as the environmentalist movement gathered momentum, a rapid development of public concern could be expected, and so a permanent Committee of ASHA was established, one of whose charges was to plan another conference when it was judged appropriate. The burgeoning of interest in noise in the intervening 5 years has clearly met, if not surpassed, our expectations at that time. In the developed areas of the world, millions of dollars or their equivalent are being spent on surveys of noise levels and exposures, and increasingly stringent noise regulations are being imposed by all levels of government. And, although the measurement of the effects of noise is nowhere near as simple as the measurement of the noises themselves, many laboratories, mostly with federal support, are engaged in full-time research on the hearing losses, sleep disturbance, speech interference, alteration of physiological state, and annoyance caused by noise. Accordingly, in 1971 we began looking for a sponsor for a second conference-one who would agree, we hoped, to fund attendance by a substantial number of researchers from abroad, so that certain areas of knowledge less intensively studied in the USA could be included in the subject matter. Fortunately, the head of the newly-created Office of Noise Abatement end Control (ONAC) of the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Alvin F. Meyer, had need of just such a conference, as a source material for a document summarizing all known criteria that might be used to establish national standards for noise control-that is, provided that the Congress passed the bill, then being duly debated and amended, that would make such a document necessary. Furthermore, certain PL 480 funds (money that must be spent in other countries) were available, which meant that the degree of participation by foreign scientists might be even greater than we had hoped. Not only that, but the particular PL 480 funds in this case were in Jugoslavia, the country that includes one of the garden spots of the world, Dubrovnik. On the assumption that our Congress would pass some form of the bill in question (which it did on October 27, 1972), we forged ahead with plans for our meeting, now upgraded to an International Congress. With the help of Dr. Grujica Zarkovic, the energetic President of the Jugoslavian Medical Association, and Dr. Mario Levi of the University of Sarajevo, a planning meeting was held to which we invited a representative from most of the countries in which noise research was being done (I say "most" because we could not quite afford to pay for attendees from Japan, Australia, and South Africa because of the distance involved, even though considerable research is being done there). At this meeting the formal agenda was decided on, and the list of invited participants prepared. It was agreed that we would try to limit the Congress content strictly to the effects of noise on health, thereby excluding discussions of engineering aspects of noise reduction and control, descriptions of methods for legal control, and presentation of viewpoints of special-interest groups. There was some debate about how much time to allot to public opinion surveys of annoyance, some of as contending that annoyance, as measured in that manner, is not a health hazard at all in the ordinary sense of the term. However, proponents of the WHO definition of "health", in which any deviation from "optimum well-being" is regarded as undesirable, carried the field, and the final day of the Congress was therefore given over to the sociologists. Despite a series of crises precipitated by governmental red tape originating both in Washington and Belgrade, the Congress was held on May 13-18, 1973 at the Libertas Hotel in Dubrovnik. We had two major disappointments: one was the failure of our Russian invitees to appear due to the fact that our official invitations had not been sent early enough. The other was that the Xerox machine at the Libertas was out of commission. However, the general success of the Congress can be gauged by the fact that the audience was as large on the final afternoon as at any other time. A side benefit of the Congress (or so we hope) was the formation of an international organization consisting of 5 "teams" who will try to accumulate and coordinate knowledge about the effects of noise on (1) temporary and permanent bearing loss; (2) extra auditory function; (3) speech; (4) sleep; and (5) community reaction. The parent group, or "basic" team, will attempt to consolidate this knowledge for use by governmental agencies, and will make plans for the next Congress. Although the organization is now alive, its name is still in question. At the moment it is still the "'International Scientific Noise Teams", but the resulting acronym has a negative connotation that pleases few of us. Other names are being considered. I regret that the length of the invited papers made it impracticable to publish at this time any of the short contributed papers that were presented at the Congress, many of which were excellent, or the often-lively discussions that followed each session. It is hoped that these can be included if another printing of the Proceedings is to be made. An enterprise of this scope cannot be a success without hard work on the part of many people. Without doubt the most effort of all wax put forth by Dr. Levi, who managed all the mechanical details of the Congress, with the help of his and Dr. Zarkovic's staff, particularly, Felih Vesna. Official thanks are extended to our sponsoring organizations: The Jugoslavian Medical Association, The American Speech and Hearing Association, the World Health Organization, and of course most of all the Office of Noise Abatement and Control.

Proceedings Surface Transportation Exhaust System Noise Symposium

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/Office of Noise Abatement and Control (EPA/ONAC) has initiated studies pursuant to requirements established under Section 8 of the Noise Control Act of 1972 which may lead to Federal requirements for the labeling of surface transportation vehicles and mufflers with respect to noise. One study is designed to assess the methodologies available to measure and communicate the noise reduction characteristics of surface transportation vehicle exhaust systems. The information communicated may be actual sound levels or information relative to sound levels (i.e., verification that a vehicle with a particular aftermarket muffler installed will meet an applicable standard), or other information such as warranty claims, proper maintenance and operator instructions, etc. The information would be used by dealers, repair facilities, enforcement personnel and the general public.

Product Noise Labeling Standards - Draft - Background Document for Product Noise Labeling General Provisions
April 1, 1977

This Background Document has been prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency in support of the Proposed Product Noise Labeling Standards - General Provisions. The proposed regulation will be promulgated under the authority of sections 8, 10, 11, and 13 of the Noise Control Act of 1972.

Product Noise Labeling Standards - Draft - Background Document for the Labeling of Hearing Protectors
April 1, 1977

This Background Document has been prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency in support of the Proposed Noise Labeling Standards for Hearing Protectors. The proposed regulation will be promulgated under the authority of sections 8, 10, 11, and 13 of the Noise COntrol Act of 1972.

Protective Noise Levels - Condensed Version of EPA Levels Document
November 1, 1978

This publication is intended to complement the EPA's "Levels Document," the 1974 report examining levels of environmental noise necessary to protect public health and welfare. It interprets the contents of the Levels Document in less technical terms for people who wish to better understand the concepts presented there, and how the protective levels were identified. In that sense, this publication may serve as an introduction, or a supplement, to the Levels Document.

Public Education and Information Manual for Noise
June 1, 1980

This manual is designed to assist with the implementation of a State and/or local noise control public education and information program. The purposes of the program are: a) To increase the awareness and knowledge levels of the general public with respect to the potentially harmful health effects of excessive noise and the effects of noise on their quality of life. b) To foster and promote locally and individually iniciated noise control actions. c) To motivate and generate the support of the general public, public/private agencies and orgaizations, groups and associations for the increased role of State and local governments in noise control and abatement. d) To encourage citizens to participate in the design and implementation of local noise control efforts.

Public Health and Welfare Criteria for Noise
July 27, 1973

The Noise Control Act of 1972 requires that the Administrator of The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) develop and publish criteria with respect to noise. These criteria are to "reflect the scientific knowledge most useful in indicating the kind and extent of all identifiable effects of noise on the public health and welfare which may be expected from differing quantities and qualities of noise." This document meets that requirement. The terms "criteria and standards" are generally used interchangeably in the scientific communities concerned with noise and its control. However, in accordance with the intent of the U.S. Congress, criteria for environmental pollutants are to reflect an honest appraisal of available knowledge relating to health and welfare effects of pollutants, (in this case, noise). The criteria are descriptions of cause and effect relationships. Standards and regulations must take into account not only the health and welfare considerations described in the criteria, but also, as called for in the Noise Control Act of 1972, technology, and cost of control. This criteria document, therefore, serves as a basis for the establishment of tile recommended environmental noise level goals to be related to the "Effects Document" called for by Section 5(a)(2) of the Noise Control Act. That document, along with this criteria document, will become the basis for standards and regulations called for by Sections 6 and 7 of the Noise Control Act. Further, the terms "health and welfare," as used in the Noise Control Act include, as in other environmental legislation, the physical and mental well being of the human populations. The terms also include other indirect effects, such as annoyance, interference with communication, loss of value and utility of property, and effects on other living things. In preparing this Criteria Document, EPA has taken into account the vast amount of data in the general professional literature and the information contained in the "Report to the President and Congress on Noise" and its supporting documents prepared under Title IV, PL 91-604. To bring to bear the views and opinions of some of the world's leading experts on current knowledge regarding the effects of noise, EPA sponsored an International Conference on Public Health Aspects of Noise) in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia in May 1973. The proceedings of that conference have been applied to the preparation of this document. They are available, as stated in the Appendix to this document.

The Public Health Effects of Community Noise
May 1, 1987

Noise is "any loud, discordant or disagreeable sound" according to Webster's Dictionary (15, p.1). Another definition would be "unwanted sound". Nearly everyone is exposed to noise at some time in their lives, yet the control of noise is not a top priority for most environmental control programs. Community noise is a very widespread problem that can cause serious public health problems. It is well-established that noise can cause hearing loss in the workplace, but what are the other effects of noise outside the workplace? The World Health Organization defines health as a state of physical, mental, and social well being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This paper will examine the evidence for the effects of noise on the cardiovascular system, the performance of tasks, the unborn and children, social behavior and mental health, sleep, speech communication and hearing. The majority of the analysis will be spent on the cardiovascular effects because they are both the most controversial and the most potentially health threatening. It is hoped that this examination of the public health effects of community noise will serve as justification for increased priority and effort in noise control at the community, state and federal levels. In addition to noise control programs, this review should also be used to educate the public on the hazards of community noise exposure and how to protect themselves from it.

Public Law 92-574: Noise Control Act of 1972
October 27, 1972