Low Frequency Noise: A Major Risk Factor in Military Operation
Authored by Col. Nuno A.A. Castelo Branco, MD (PoAF, res.)Center for Human Performance
Excerpts - "In reality, long-term exposure to low frequency noise (<500 Hz, including infrasound) (LFN) can be quite detrimental to one's health."
"We propose that LFN be treated as x-rays, and thus human perception, i.e., annoyance, loudness, etc, are given theimport of subjective measures."
There are many people who's lives are and have been devastated by the incessant pulsation of natural gas pipelines and natural gas compressors . The evidence is substantial , overwhelming and undeniable.
Long term exposure to low frequency noise can result in serious health issues. Mariana Alves Pereira. She is an expert with 30+ years of experience researching low frequency noise. Her presentation is strictly limited to a scientific explanation of low frequency noise and how it effects the human body and physical health of human life.
Low frequency noise poses health risks. As low frequencies propagate with little attenuation through walls and windows, many people are exposed to low frequency noise in their dwellings. Sleep disturbance, especially with regard to time to fall asleep and tiredness in the morning, are commonly reported in case studies on low frequency noise. The majority of personal accounts of "The Hum" revolve around sleep disturbances either in the form of being unable to fall asleep or being awakened by The Hum. Our experience with sleep disturbance and the Hum are similar in that when the Hum is present it impossible to fall asleep and very difficult to sleep for more than an hour. Although there are times when the Hum is diminished and occasions where it has been completely absent for weeks, presumably due to system periods of low demand for natural gas at the downstream end of the pipeline, system upgrade or compressor maintanance, the Hum is usually present for days weeks and months on end. In most cases it manifests as a relentless assault on the senses that never stops and often becomes louder and harder to ignore at night when people should be sleeping.
What are the physical effects of not sleeping?
More than a third of people who suffer from chronic insomnia also have psychiatric conditions such as depression and schizophrenia, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxieties or phobias. Sleep and psychiatric problems tend to go hand-in-hand – when you’re not sleeping well, life appears more grim; when life appears grim, it’s harder to rest.
Daytime drowsiness deteriorates: Performance plummets and cognition wanes when deprived of sleep.
Susceptibility to microsleeps : these are brief episodes of sleep that you’re unaware of and that occur during waking hours. Lasting only a few seconds, microsleeps can produce inattention, resulting in accidents and injury.
Colds and flu increase
people who sleep less than 6 hours per night have 50% less resistance to viral infection than those getting 8 hours of sleep.
lack of sleep lowers leptin levels in the brain and raises ghrelin levels in the stomach. These hormones are responsible for appetite regulation. So when you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to overeat – craving carbs, sugars and junk food
Diabetes: A study at the University of Chicago involving healthy young men with no risk factor for diabetes found that after just one week of inadequate sleep, they were in a pre-diabetic state. Researchers attributed the result to overactive central nervous systems (caused by not sleeping), which affected the ability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin to adequately regulate glucose levels. The current epidemic in diabetes may be connected to the epidemic in sleep deprivation.
Cancer: Women who exercise regularly and were generally healthy had a 47% higher risk of cancer if they were sleeping fewer than 7 hours.
What are the behavioral effects of sleep deprivation?
Mood shifts, including depression and irritability, Stress, anxiety and loss of coping skills, Socializing less, Sub-par mental functioning/perception, Concentration problems Difficulties with being unable to think logically and critically, Failing to analyze and assimilate new information, Reduced ability to communicate, Lower creativity, Impaired motor skills and coordination
What are the effects of exposure to low frequency noise?
LFN is known to produce a number of negative physiological reactions such as changes to blood pressure and heart rate, headaches, vertigo, sleep disturbance, difficulty breathing, and anxiety.
Subjective complaints including feelings of vibration, pressure and annoyance, as well as mental and physical performance impairment , fatigue, irritability, and lack of concentration.
LFN has even been found to physiologically affect both hearing and deaf participants in studies comparing the two, demonstrating that it is the cochlear stimulation of LFN that adversely affects those exposed to it in a manner unique from high frequency noise .
LFN is often overlooked in newer noise regulations, for a number of intriguing reasons. Chief of these is the simple fact that, at the noise source itself, the LFN tends to be discounted in favor of the more obvious HFN. In auditory terms, the high-pitched 4000 Hz tone may be perceived as a squeak, while the lower-pitched 200 Hz tone would be perceived by the listener as closer to a hum.LFN may not have the same high-pitched shriek of a fan that demands attention upfront, but it can be felt from far away and it is equally, if not more, annoying to those exposed to it, particularly over long periods of time.
An Industry in denial
Natural gas pipelines and compressors exist where ever there is a significant number of people. Millions of miles of pipelines and hundreds of thousands of compressors that operate for months between shutdowns. Operating pressures anywhere from 200 Psi to 2000 Psi and gas velocities anywhere from 10 meters per second to 60 meters per second and an infinite number of piping configurations. Millions of horsepower of Compression equipment forcing natural gas through metal tubes buried in the ground. Taken into consideration, the notion that this equipment operates in complete silence is absurd, yet the industry itself has chosen to deny any culpability and invests absolutely nothing in the process of investigating of low frequency noise complaints much less taking remedial action when and where necessary. Repeated complaints of low frequency noise fall on deaf ears with government regulators at every level and those affected simply don't matter. "Playing dumb" is standard operating procedure within government and a multi billion dollar industry. The shareholders are the winners and the people who have their health and well being completely devastated, are written off by Physicians, Politicians and the natural gas industry itself, presumably as a cost of doing business. The entire process is whitewashed with Corporate statements of "Environmental Stewardship" and denial at every turn. Some even go so far as to tout a commitment to mental health and pat themselves on the back for such commitments while ignoring the truth about how they are responsible for generating a "Hum" that by many descriptions has driven good people to the very edge of sanity.
At present there are no solutions. Much like an alcoholic who lives in denial so does this industry and until there is an admission that there is a problem there can be no recovery.
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