Noise Control and Radon Gas
Question 1: You have been notified that there is a case before the City Council to approve a new nightclub in your neighborhood. The owners of the proposed nightclub have operated several other clubs in your city. They have a reputation for being insensitive to those who live nearby in the community. Discuss the public health effects that may result in a community exposed to noise produced by a nightclub. Describe the restrictions you would recommend the city requires the new nightclub to meet before granting an approval.
Hearing is one of the important senses of the human body. It enables people to acquire information from various sources and is an important aspect of learning. For children, hearing is utilized to learn language and speech. When the ability to hear is lost, children cannot easily learn the language or learning will be delayed (“Hearing Health for Children”).
Hence, noise has always been an environmental dilemma in the society. With the innovations of technology that contribute to the noise level, noise pollution has worsened and is increasingly becoming an issue in the contemporary society. In fact, the inception of industries all contribute to the increasing noise levels (“Noise Pollution”). One of the contributors on the increasing noise level is the prevalence of nightclubs which emit high levels of loud music that is considered as noise.
We are constantly exposed to various noises in our surroundings. We are exposed to the sounds produced by the people, appliances, and the inevitable traffic at the metro. However, theses noises are heard by the ears at a desirable level and do not become a health hazard. However, when we are exposed to the harmful noises such as loud music for quite a long time, the sensitive structures in our ears can be damaged and can caused noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). The sensitive structures are the hair cells which transmit sounds into electrical signals and send it to the brain. The hair cells have the inability to grow back once damaged (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders [NIDCD]).
An exposure to extreme sound such as a sudden intense explosion or by constant exposure to harmful sounds over a certain period of time may cause NIHL (NIDCD). In nightclubs, the music that is so loud make the floors vibrate and cause pain in your chest and ring your ears. The intensity of the sound is measured in decibels. Harmful levels measured around 120-150 decibels such as firearms, explosion and motorcycles. Long exposure on sounds measuring 85 decibels can also cause hearing loss (NIDCD).
Exposure to harmful levels of sounds can cause damage to hair cells and also to the auditory nerve. A sudden loud sound may cause hearing loss that can be permanent. Hearing loss can be accompanied by tinnitus which is characterized by ringing, buzzing and roaring in the head which will eventually subside over time (NIDCD).
There are restrictions that needed to be followed to grant the approval for building establishments. In New York City, the bars and nightclubs face restrictions on how they will manage the volume of their music as the police officers are equipped with noise meters. The new noise code of the city states that the establishments are obliged to maintain the sound level in 42 decibels in a house near the establishment. Bass sounds would also be subjected to certain restrictions due to the beats that can sometimes be annoying (Hu).
The city should require the nightclubs and other late-night establishments certain restrictions in controlling community noise. First, the sound insulation measures should be followed which includes soundproofing of late-night establishments for the protection of the community from noise. The establishment should also be test on the level of noise it produce as heard in the residences nearby.
Question 2: Radon gas emits Alpha particles which may cause lung cancer if inhaled by an individual. Friends of yours are purchasing a new home in an area where you understand that radon gas may be common. Identify potential human health risks associated with living in a home where radon gas levels may be high. Identify methods available to test for radon in the home. List corrective/remediation measures that can be taken to reduce radon levels in the home.
Radon is a natural radioactive gas which is odorless and colorless gas that can cause cancer. It is claimed to cause lung cancer among non-smokers and the second prominent cause of lung cancer in America with a death toll of 20,000 lives yearly. Presence of radon gas in your homes can pose danger to the inhabitants of the house (Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]).
Radon is produced through the decay of uranium in soil and water. Lung cancer is the well-known effect of exposure to radon in air. After smoking, inadequate exposure to radon gas is one of the main causes of lung cancer deaths. A great number of lung cancer deaths are attributed as radon-related (Oregon.gov).
There are several methods that can be employed in testing the levels of the radon gas in structures. The methods of determining the levels of radon gas are categorized on the duration of the test. Short-term tests last for 2-90 days and long term tests last for 90- one year. Activated Carbon Adsorption (AC) & Charcoal Liquid Scintillation (LS) is a short term tests that both absorb radon gas in charcoal but different equipments are utilized in testing the sample for the level of radon. Alpha-Track Detection (AT), on the other hand, is a long term test that detects radon using a sheet of special material placed inside the container with a filter opening. The radon gases that will enter the containers will decays and emit alpha particles (Oregon.gov).
There are methods that can be employed in lowering the levels of radon gas in your homes. Soil suction is the process of withdrawing radon gas underneath the house and gets it away from the house through pipes. Another process is sealing of cracks and openings, the process do not lower the levels of radon but limits the influx of radon gas insides a structure. House pressurization is a method of creating pressure differences to prevent radon gas in entering the homes. Lastly, Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) is the process of heating and cooling down of the incoming air and is proven the most effective method when used in the basement (Wickell).
Environmental Protection Agency. Radon. 26 August 2008. 11 September 2008 <http://www.epa.gov/radon/>.
“Hearing Health for Children.” North Words. 11 September 2008 <http://www.northwords.com/Hearing.htm>.
Hu, Winnie. “City Noise Code Gets Stricter; Fancy Meters Will Aid Ears”. The New York Times. 22 December 2005. The New York Times Company. 11 September 2008 <http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/nyregion/22noise.html?_r=1&oref=slogin>.
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. May 2007. 11 September 2008 <http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/noise.asp>.
“Noise Pollution.” 2008. States of Jersey. 11 September 2008 <http://www.gov.je/Health/public_health/health_protection/pollution/Noise+Pollution.htm>.
Oregon.gov. Radiation Protection Services- Radon Gas. 2008. 11 September 2008 <http://egov.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/rps/radon/index.shtml>.
Wickell, Janet. “How to Reduce Radon Gas in Your Home.” About.com. 2008. The New York Times Company. 11 September 2008 <http://homebuying.about.com/cs/radongas/a/radon_gas_2.htm>.