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by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

In New York State, residents living with aircraft noise were pleased to learn that Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill in late December that directs the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and other New York State agencies to conduct a study examining the health impacts on residents exposed to overhead aircraft noise and air pollution from flights associated with John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. Funding of $500,000 is expected to be appropriated for this study.

Yet, one might ask that considering the large body of literature linking aircraft noise to adverse mental and physical health effects, why must there be another study on aircraft noise effects? Assemblywoman Griffin, who sponsored the Bill, has been quoted as saying that the “state study will scientifically validate what residents already know—that noise is excessive, harmful to humans and needs to be better regulated and mitigated.”

With respect to the New York State aircraft noise study, I would like to suggest that the agencies directing the study consider appointing a committee to manage the study comprised of individuals with specific skills in the following areas: aircraft noise research, aircraft noise mitigation, aircraft noise policymaking, personal experiences of living with aircraft noise daily, airport-related air pollution. This committee should be charged with selecting the researchers to conduct the study, to oversee the research project, and then to produce a report on the findings of the study as well as actions that need to be taken to ameliorate the aircraft noise. My suggestion stems from a multi-skilled committee I served on at the National Academy of Sciences that oversaw a research project directed as examining the impact of noise abatement at schools exposed to overhead aircraft noise.