The Nation: Sound and Unfury

Residents of Canton, Ill. (pop. 14,000), regulated their lives according to the seven blasts heard each day on the town's whistle, perched on top of the local International Harvester plant. They awakened to the first morning whistle at 6 a.m., set their watches by it, and moved in steady, sure steps throughout the day, alert to the whistle's sound. The Environmental Protection Agency heard in the whistle not the sound of a community ordering its hours but a D.B.A. (for decibels adjusted) measurement of 89, 28 points higher than the limit allowed by a state noise-pollution law slated to go into...

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