Health risks related to noise
Projects at the Unit of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM)
Health effects of noise exposure in children, adolescents and young adults
A significant part of the population is exposed to noise from traffic and exposure increases, partly due to increasing urbanization and traffic growth. In recent years, several studies have demonstrated serious health effects of long-term noise exposure in adults, such as cardiovascular diseases. We have also documented an association between noise exposure and obesity, which probably is mediated by stress mechanisms. However, the evidence is limited regarding effects of community noise in children, adolescents and young adults, which may be crucial for development of adverse effects later in life. In this project, we will study relations between exposure to traffic noise and blood pressure, stress hormones, allergies as well as obesity in a birth cohort followed until 24 years of age. The study is based on the BAMSE cohort where more than 4,000 children in Stockholm have been followed from birth with repeated surveys and clinical investigations, including blood and saliva sampling. Individual exposure to noise from road and railway traffic as well as air craft at homes, schools and workplaces is assessed based on a new methodology, and additional information about sound exposure from other sources, including music listening, is collected via questionnaire. Occupational noise exposure is estimated from a job-exposure matrix. The available information on other risk factors such as socio-economic conditions and air pollution exposure is extensive, allowing for precise control of confounding and analysis of interactions. Our study offers unique opportunities to assess how noise exposure early in life can lead to long-term adverse health consequences. This will strengthen the basis for preventive action and urban planning, and is also important for the development of new noise guidelines.
Health effects of noise from different traffic sources in relation to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases
Large parts of the population are exposed to noise from traffic, particularly in urban areas. Long-term exposure to noise may cause severe health effects, such as cardiovascular and/or metabolic diseases. In this project we will significantly strengthen the basis for the risk assessment using data from four adult cohorts based in Stockholm county. Individual long-term exposure to noise from different sources is estimated for the cohort members using models with high spatial resolution. Exposure-response relationships will then be assessed for several adverse health outcomes, including hypertension, ischemic heart disease, stroke, overweight and type 2 diabetes. This will be combined with detailed data on population exposures to calculate the number of cases attributable to noise exposure. In addition, interactions between air pollution and noise are evaluated for the cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes. It is expected that the results will provide important guidance for prioritization of preventive measures as well as for health sustainable urban development.
- Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare