Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How does Air Pollution and Noise from Road Traffic affect Blood Pressure?

Car owners request measures against traffic no...
 Car owners request measures against traffic noise for the road at their home, a typical Nimby (Not In My Backyard) situation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and traffic noise and incident hypertension in seven cohorts of the European study of cohorts for air pollution effects (ESCAPE) (Abstract, Kateryna B Fuks, Gudrun Weinmayr, Xavier Basagaña, Olena Gruzieva, Regina Hampel, Bente Oftedal, Mette Sørensen, Kathrin Wolf, Geir Aamodt, Gunn Marit Aasvang, Inmaculada Aguilera, Thomas Becker, Rob Beelen, Bert Brunekreef, Barbara Caracciolo, Josef Cyrys, Roberto Elosua, Kirsten Thorup Eriksen, Maria Foraster, Laura Fratiglioni, Agneta Hilding, Danny Houthuijs, Michal Korek, Nino Künzli, Jaume Marrugat, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Claes-Göran Östenson, Johanna Penell, Göran Pershagen, Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Wim Swart Jr, Annette Peters, Barbara Hoffmann, European Heart Journal, Oct. 24, 2016)

Today we review research based on the effects of traffic –related air pollution and noise in five countries for 5-9 years. Results indicate that the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension increased by 20% for those who live in more polluted areas (for every increase of 5 µg/m3 of PM2.5) and by 6% for those living in areas with a higher level of noise. Air pollution was higher in Germany and Spain than in Scandinavian countries and the combination of air and noise pollution was higher in Spain and Sweden.

Key Quotes: 

“Long-term exposure to air pollution is linked to a greater incidence of high blood pressure, according to the largest study to investigate the effects of both air pollution and traffic noise by following over 41,000 people in five different countries for five to nine years.” 

“among adults, up to one extra person per 100 people of the same age group living in the most polluted areas of cities would develop high blood pressure (hypertension) compared to those living in the less polluted areas…similar to the effect of being overweight with a body mass index (BMI) between 25-30 compared to people with normal weight” 

“for every five micrograms [2] per cubic metre (5 µg/m3) of PM2.5, the risk of hypertension increased by a fifth (22%) in people living in the most polluted areas compared to those in the least polluted areas” 

 “people living in noisy streets, where there were average night time noise levels of 50 decibels, had a six percent increased risk of developing hypertension compared to those living on quieter streets where average noise levels were 40 decibels during the night.” 

“there were higher average levels of pollution in the central and southern European study areas -- Germany and Spain -- than in the Scandinavian areas -- Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Exposure to traffic noise and traffic load was highest in the study areas of Sweden and Spain.”

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