SAN FRANCISCO Nathaniel Clyne England Jersey
, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Noise pollution is inescapable in segregated cities, where it is worse for everyone, according to the first breakdown of noise exposure along racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines in the United States.
Led by University of California, Berkeley Marcus Rashford England Jersey
, researchers, the study examines noise pollution nationally through the lens of racial disparities and the extent to which noise is exacerbated by living in segregated cities. It does not examine how noise is linked to health, but previous studies have shown that it can be associated with acute health problems such as high blood pressure and loss of sleep.
"We've known that poor communities and communities of color are likely more exposed to toxic landfills and air pollution, but until now we really have not heard much about noise pollution," the study's lead author Kyle Walker England Jersey
, Joan Casey, a postdoctoral scholar in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, was quoted as saying in a news release. "The consistent disparities in noise pollution across domains in our study surprised us."
The study was published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
In their research, the authors used noise data collected by the National Park Service. Noise-monitoring devices across the continental United States recorded 1 million hours of sound over a 13-year period ending in 2013. Based on the data, UC Berkeley and Harvard University researchers estimated the noise levels in metropolitan areas across the continental United States on a neighborhood-scale -- areas with 600 to 1 Kieran Gibbs England Jersey
,300 residents, on average.
The research does not differentiate between sources of noise pollution, but major sources of noise commonly include industrial activity, traffic and airports.
Noise was quantified by the level that is exceeded in a place 50 percent of the time. For example, a noise level of 50 decibels in a neighborhood means that 50 percent of the time noise in this neighborhood is louder than 50 decibels. Noise is measured logarithmically Jordan Henderson England Jersey
, so a 3-decibel increase is a doubling of the sound energy.
The researchers found a strong correlation between noise and race, and that noise pollution tends to be higher as the percentage of white residents in a neighborhood declines. They looked at how noise levels correlated with the demographics of neighborhoods across the country, focusing on five racial and ethnic groups: Asians, blacks, Hispanics Jonjo Shelvey England Jersey
, Native Americans and non-Hispanic whites.
On average, as the proportion of residents that were Asian, black or Hispanic rose, noise levels both during the day and during night were higher. For Native Americans, the data showed the inverse John Stones England Jersey
, which could be due to the remote locations of Native American reservations. Neighborhoods with at least 75 percent black residents had median night-time noise levels 4 decibels higher than in neighborhoods without any black residents.
The difference in noise levels between predominantly white and predominantly black neighborhoods was the largest of all races and ethnicities studied.
In addition, the study indicates that white residents in segregated metropolitan areas were exposed to higher levels of noise pollution than white residents in less segregated cities. In the least segregated cities, all-white communities were exposed to 38 decibels of nighttime noise on average, compared to 42.5 decibels in the most segregated cities.
"In more segregated cities, you see racial disparities regardless of the segregation level of the city Joe Hart England Jersey
," noted UC Berkeley professor and study co-author Rachel Morello-Frosch. "But what you also see is that cities that are more segregated have higher noise levels overall for everybody."
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