Hearing Loss at the Indy

According to measurements made by The Vancouver Sun, noise levels at this year's Indy ranged from 90 decibels (dB) to a brutal 118 dB on the green flag. Not even the thundering overhead pass of two CF-18 Hornets could compete, registering "only" 104 dB. Normal conversation registers around 60 dB, and a 3 dB increase represents a doubling of sound intensity, as the scale is logarithmic.

Dietrich Schwarz, a professor of surgery at UBC who specializes in hearing, says, "You are going to damage your ear temporarily, and perhaps even permanently, if you expose yourself to this kind of noise for any extended period of time [such as the length of the Indy race]...." Eighty-seven dB is the level above which Health Canada recommends the wearing of ear protection for prolonged exposure. Even so, there are racegoers every year who eschew hearing protection.

At a distance of two blocks away, and behind a wall of apartments, the noise from the race is still some 87 dB, well supporting the claims of some area residents that their homes are made uninhabitable for that weekend.
-Source: The Vancouver Sun, September 4, 2000

Important notice:
The Director of Environmental Health, Mr. Domenic Losito, will present a proposal entitled "Noise and Leaf Blower Report" to the Standing Committee of Vancouver City Council. The tentative meeting date is Thursday, Oct. 19, 2000. It would be appreciated if any of our members could write Mayor Owen and the Councillors to possibly ban the use of leaf blowers, or at least to support the implementation of stringent restrictions on them. You might also consider registering to speak to Council on the matter, or attending the meeting in our support. To obtain a copy of the proposal prior to the meeting, contact (604) 736-2866 (Environmental Health). The Mayor and Councillors can be emailed at <mayorandcouncil@city.vancouver.bc.ca>, with a copy to us at <info@quiet.org>. Regular mail: Mayor and Council, City Hall, 453 W. 12th Ave., Vancouver, BC, V5Y 1V4.

Update on Go-Peds

On June 22, 2000, Vancouver City Council voted unanimously to ban the noisy gas-powered scooters and skateboards from city streets and public places such as seawalls. At the last minute, they decided to exempt electric scooters from the bylaw. However, under the Provincial Motor Vehicle Act, motorized and foot-powered scooters, skateboards, and inline skates are still illegal on BC streets, as they can't be registered, licenced, or insured. These are also prohibited on Vancouver sidewalks, and in parks and public places; police can fine violators $86, and seize the item which means an extra $40 city fine.

-Source: The Vancouver Province, June 23, 2000

Sonar Tests Kill Whales

A deafening noise recently pierced the underwater world of the Bahamas, and a pod of beaked whales, normally elusive and mysterious, suffered ear-splitting pain. Sound waves strong enough to burst blood vessels drove several of the creatures to beach themselves. Environmental scientists said last week that the sound's source was US navy sonar signals. The sonar tests have been halted until an "independent review of acoustic, oceanographic and environmental data" is conducted.

-Sources: The Vancouver Province, June 18, 2000; The Washington Post, May 27, 2000.

March 20, 2000 the Vancouver Parks Board passed the following bylaw: "No person shall sing, play a musical instrument, or otherwise perform or provide entertainment in any area of a park which has been designated by the general manager as an area in which entertainment is not allowed."

Right to Quiet Society Newsletter, Fall 2000

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