- CT - 2002 - 02501)
four year Key action 4 Environment and Health study
December 2002 - 30 November 2006
Few investigators have studied health
effects associated with exposure to aircraft noise. The overall
evidence suggests that a weak association exists between long-term noise
exposure and high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, but studies
to date have shown contradictory results. There are some
indications that the potential effects of noise on blood pressure may
be mediated via stress hormones.
Previous studies have traditionally considered
noise from a single specific source only, such as aircraft or road traffic.
Aircraft noise might be more annoying than road traffic noise, but findings
from previous studies are unclear. Subjective attitudes towards
the noise and the activities disturbed may modify the effect of noise
Several studies have shown excess
risk of cardiovascular disease associated with air pollution.
Airports act as hotspots for both air pollution and noise. Therefore,
it may be important to consider exposure to ambient air pollution as
a possible confounder/effect modifier of the association between community
noise and high blood pressure/cardiovascular disease. The main
source of noise, however, tends to derive from aircraft movements, while
much of the air pollution is associated with road transport generated
by the airports.
The overall project aim is to assess
the impacts on cardiovascular health of noise generated by aircraft
and road traffic. The project will evaluate the modifying effects
of air pollution on noise associated cardiovascular effects, and will
analyse the difference in blood pressure resulting from different noise
exposure patterns. The role of annoyance and sleep disturbances
due to noise, on blood pressure, will be assessed, and the impact of
aircraft and road traffic noise on stress hormone levels will be investigated.
Acute changes in blood pressure following short-term changes in noise
levels will be assessed.
specific objectives are:
To analyse the exposure-response relationships
in adults between long-term exposure to airport related noise and high
To evaluate the modifying effects of traffic
related air pollution (NO2, PM) on noise associated cardiovascular risk
factors and cardiovascular disease.
To analyse the difference in blood pressure
resulting from different noise exposure patterns.
To assess the possible modifying effects by
annoyance and sleep disturbances due to road and aircraft noise, on
To analyse the impact of aircraft and road traffic
noise on stress hormone levels.
To analyse the effects of noise exposure on
high blood pressure in susceptible subgroups of the population.
To provide scientific basis and support for
guidelines for a European policy on noise abatement.
The project includes cross-sectional
studies near major airports in Germany (Berlin Tegel), Greece (Athens),
Italy (Milano Malpensa), the Netherlands (Amsterdam Schiphol), Sweden
(Stockholm Arlanda) and the UK (London Heathrow), including a total
of 6,000 study subjects.
The studies will use uniform methods
for the assessment of noise exposure and health effects (blood pressure,
ischaemic heart disease). Stress hormones will be determined in saliva
and disturbance/annoyance will be investigated using questionnaires.
Exposure to air pollution will be assessed at selected airports.
Random effects models allowing for repeated measurements in selected
individuals will be used to assess short-term changes in blood pressure
following changes in noise levels. A pooled analysis and an overall
evaluation of the results will be undertaken.
The studies are conducted in the
vicinity of airports with a wide range of exposures, from low to high
levels of noise exposure from different sources, which will allow for
detailed analyses of exposure-response relationships for the general
population as well as for susceptible subgroups.