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In the 52 years since Surgeon General Stewart declared noise a serious public health issue (1968), progress on noise has been hampered. In the 1970s, Congress acted to create a national program on noise administered by the Federal Government. After the passage of the Noise Control Act of 1972 and the Quiet Communities Act of 1978, an Executive Order by the Reagan Administration in 1981 ended funding for the education, research, standards, product labeling, & state-local guidance provided for by the legislation. Although the Noise Control Act remains on the statute books, it is not enforced.

What this means is that the Federal program is essentially “on hold” and visible nationwide leadership on noise is lacking. Quiet Conversation is bringing people together to discuss the tools of governance and other solutions that can be brought to bear on problems of environmental noise.