April 22 is Earth Day — a time to celebrate nature and to protect the earth against pollution. Excessive noise is an often-neglected form of environmental pollution. Most Americans are constantly bombarded by excessive noise — but motor vehicles with illegal aftermarket exhausts are increasingly becoming prevalent. It has become a climate change issue: All motor vehicles with illegally modified exhaust systems create more nitrogen oxide emissions and volatile organic compounds than those with legal exhaust systems.

These aftermarket exhaust systems do not comply with federal Department of Transportation standards, therefore are not legal for use on public roads.

Furthermore, the state of Pennsylvania has laws in place limiting the noise allowed for motor vehicles, and some towns and municipalities including Philadelphia, West Chester and Carlisle; Knoxville, Tennessee and New York have equipment to test motor vehicles for compliance.

High noise levels are associated with heart disease, elevated blood pressure, hearing loss, sleep deprivation, ringing of the ears, headaches, chronic fatigue and aggressive behavior. These issues often result in reduced property values along with decreased job and academic performance.

What can be done? Residents should report incidences to their police department; encourage awareness with others and borough council members; discourage the “we just have to get over it” mentality.

For further information and constant updates, join the email list of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet. Website: www.noisefree.org. Join our local email list: uccanpa@gmail.com (Union County Citizens Against Noise).

Paula Christy

Joannah McGregor

Nancy Showers

Union County Citizens Against Noise

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