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Growler Health Impact Project

University of Washington Study finds: Navy Growler jet noise over Whidbey Island could impact over 74,000 people’s health
Published May 9th in the
Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Population health implications of exposure to pervasive military aircraft noise pollution
Authors: Giordano Jacuzzi, Lauren M. Kuehne, Anne Harvey, Christine Hurley, Robert Wilbur, Edmund Seto & Julian D. Olden 

This study advanced SDA, COER, and our communities toward a fuller understanding of the impacts on health and well-being associated with living in the Growler jet zone based on current and best-available science, supporting longstanding efforts to advocate for changes in policy.


The project team convened three community webinars during the study year to introduce the project, review interim products and communicate final results and project outcomes.

For further questions about the study, contact Chris Hurley.


Artwork by: S. C. Watson


The Growler Health Impact Project, funded by the University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative, analyzed the troves of raw Growler jet noise data collected over the past decade. 


The project was co-led by SDA president Anne Harvey and COER president Bob Wilbur, who submitted the project in collaboration with University of Washington researchers, Dr. Edmund Seto, an environmental health scientist in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and Dr. Julian Olden, an ecologist in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. The project was designed and developed over several years, as a follow up to noise monitoring work that SDA and COER have promoted or led in the past. 


The project received funding for one year to take a deep dive into the thousands of hours of raw noise data that has been collected by COER and SDA and public agencies including the Washington’s Bureau of Land Management, the US National Park Service as well as the Navy.  These data cover Whidbey Island and surrounding areas, including parts of the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Peninsula. 

The study had three major objectives:

  • Provide a robust assessment of Growler noise levels, lengths of noise exposure, and frequency of noise events across the region;

  • Estimate the health risks to the population, including potential hearing loss, increased blood pressure, sleep disturbance, stress and annoyance, and childhood learning interference, and;

  • Map estimated noise levels and related noise health risks to inform affected communities about how to protect and advocate for their health.

The Navy’s Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the expansion of the Growler program on Whidbey was finalized in 2019 despite its failure to comply fully with the mandates of the National Environmental Protection Act. The Navy’s assessment of potential human health impacts was determined to be deficient by the Washington State Department of Health among assessments by many others.

Related information:

Quiet Communities June 16, 2022 Webinar:

Aviation Noise, Pollution, and Health: Connecting the Dots. 

Conference recording

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