Pigments even protect the ear from noise

In the ear, melanin also does important protective work. The inner ear is lined with well-circulated tissue of multiple layers of cells. "It is pigmented and protects from stressful noise," explains Professor Ulrich Schraermeyer, cell biologist at the Centre for Eye Medicine of the University of Cologne. Noise leads to a hyperactivity of cells, which in turn causes the formation of the dangerous "free radicals". Body-balance disorders, too, can occur at a lack of melanin. Quite often albinos - people with low pigmentation - suffer from this "Waardburg Syndrome". Apotheken Umschau (Pharmacies Review), August 2003

Change to decibel-based noise bylaw in Victoria

Already over one year ago we wrote to the mayor and councillors of the City of Victoria, expressing our concerns about the imminent change from an "annoyance-type" bylaw to a "decibel-based" one. Under a decibel-based bylaw it is an offence when a noise exceeds a certain established decibel level. Under the annoyance-type bylaw, a noise that disturbs or tends to disturb a neihgbourhood is deemed to be an offense, regardless of how many decibels it would register at on a sound-level meter.

This is very important, because if an allowable maximum level is set just high enough to accommodate a particular type of noise in a given location, it is then legal, no matter how disturbing it may be to whatever number of affected people. Also, a decibel-based bylaw would be very difficult to enforce, rendering it impractical or even useless. In fact, it would be misused to accommodate noise makers and put the burden of proof of a violation on the victim. In February of this year we wrote once more and also asked our Victoria members to join this campaign, by sending them information and a prepared letter to sign and mail in to city hall. Ms. Sheryl Masters, Manager, Administration, replied to us on March 11, thanking us for our letter outlining concerns with the new City of Victoria 'decibel' based noise bylaw.

She had forwarded our letter to Mayor Lowe and members of Council and provided a copy to the Director of Planning & Development for information. Finally she wrote: "As you have stated, there has been much discussion and many opinions as to the potential effectiveness of the new noise bylaw. Council and the Right to Quiet Society are both aiming for the same objective, consideration of your neighbours when it comes to noise."

Very interestingly, Ms. Masters did not mention if the 'annoyance' provision will be kept on the new law. Yet, in her reply to one of our Victoria members she added this sentence: "Please be assured, the Noise Bylaw will continue to have a 'nuisance' provision."

Should you wish to send your comments to Mayor Lowe and members of Council, the address of Victoria City Hall is: 1 Centennial Square Victoria V8W 1P6

Tel (250) 361 0571 Fax (250) 361 0348 www.city.victoria.bc.ca

NOISY WARDS HARM PATIENTS
By Kate Howard / Daily Telegraph

LONDON - Noise levels on hospital wards, which can sometimes exceed the volume of a pneumatic drill, are hindering patients' recovery, according to research in the USA and Scotland. The studies have found that the use of machinery with beeps, alarms and other electronic sounds, combined with the noise of conversation and people moving around, can raise the volume on wards to as high as 113 dB, exceeding the 110 dB typically generated by a pneumatic drill. Patients are kept awake by the din, impairing their ability to recover. The study, conducted by staff at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, also found that a portable X-ray machine used on wards generated 98 dB of noise, the equivalent of a motorcycle. The Vancouver Sun, Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Right to Quiet Society Newsletter, Spring 2004
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