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To ask the Scottish Government whether it is aware of the findings of research undertaken on vibroacoustic disease for the RMT union suggesting that (a) it affects around 70% of men exposed to loud low frequency noise, (b) susceptibility may be worse with low body mass index, and women may, therefore, be particularly prone to the condition, (c) the effects are accelerated in unborn children and (d) under the current legislation there is no requirement to protect staff working in transport and, if so, what action it is taking to protect workers from the condition.

Answered by Maureen Watt (23/11/2015):

We are aware that some researchers have suggested that there may be harmful health impacts arising from exposure to low frequency noise.

The Scottish Government receives expert evidence-based advice on environmental public health issues from Health Protection Scotland, our national health protection experts, and also from Public Health England. Both organisations also draw on the advice of expert subject-specific committees.

In 2010 the independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation considered the issue of health effects of exposure to ultrasound and infrasound. The group found that there was no evidence that infrasound levels normally encountered in the environment would lead to vibroacoustic disease, and also found that the suggested disease itself had not gained clinical recognition.

Peer-reviewed evidence published since the group's report does not alter that report’s conclusions. Individuals who are concerned about their symptoms should consult their GP.

Current Status: Answered by Maureen Watt on 23/11/2015
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