News / USA

Aircraft Noise Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke

FILE - Lebanese-French Evelyne Ghandour, who suffers from heart problems, talks with her husband Georges, as workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross carry her into an ambulance at a hospital in Beirut.
FILE - Lebanese-French Evelyne Ghandour, who suffers from heart problems, talks with her husband Georges, as workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross carry her into an ambulance at a hospital in Beirut.
Reuters
Exposure to high levels of aircraft noise near busy international airports has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and strokes in two separate studies from Britain and the United States.
 
Researchers in London studied noise and hospital admissions around London Heathrow airport, while a separate team analyzed data on 6 million Americans living near 89 U.S. airports.
 
Both studies, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on Wednesday, found that people living with the highest levels of aircraft noise had increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
 
In the Heathrow study, the risks were around 10 to 20 percent higher in areas with highest levels of aircraft noise compared with the areas with least noise.
 
Stephen Stansfeld, a professor at Queen Mary University of London who was not part of either research team but provided a commentary on their findings, said the results suggested that “aircraft noise exposure is not just a cause of annoyance, sleep disturbance, and reduced quality of life” but may also increase sickness and death from heart disease.
 
City and town planners “need to take this into account when extending airports in heavily populated areas or planning new airports,” he said.
 
Other experts said the studies raised important issues about aircraft noise and health, but did not establish a causal link.
 
“Both of these studies are thorough and well-conducted. But, even taken together, they don't prove that aircraft noise actually causes heart disease and strokes,” said Kevin McConway, a professor of applied statistics at Britain's Open University.
 
The British research team set out to investigate the risks of stroke and heart disease in relation to aircraft noise among 3.6 million people living near Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world.
 
They compared hospital admissions and death rates due to stroke and heart disease from 2001 to 2005 in 12 areas of London and nine further districts to the west of London.
 
Levels of aircraft noise for each area were obtained from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and factors that could have affected the results, such as age, sex, ethnicity, social deprivation, smoking, air pollution  and road traffic noise were also taken into account.
 
Their results showed increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease - especially among the 2.0 percent of the study population exposed to the highest levels of daytime and night time aircraft noise.
 
“The exact role that noise exposure may play in ill health is not well established,” said Anna Hansell of Imperial College London, who led the British study. “However, it is plausible that it might be contributing, for example by raising blood pressure or by disturbing people's sleep.”
 
The researchers noted that discussions on possible expansion plans for London's airport capacity have been on and off the table for many decades, with demand for air travel expected to double in Britain to 300 million passengers per year by 2030.
 
“Policy decisions need to take account of potential health related concerns, including possible effects of environmental noise on cardiovascular health,” they wrote.
 
In a second study also published in the BMJ, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health looked at data for more than 6 million Americans aged 65 or over living near 89 U.S. airports in 2009.
 
The research - the first to analyze a very large population across multiple airports - found that, on average, zip codes with 10 decibel (dB) higher aircraft noise had a 3.5 percent higher cardiovascular hospital admission rate.
 
The results showed that people exposed to the highest noise levels - more than 55 dB - had the strongest link with hospitalisations for heart disease, and the link also remained after adjustment for socioeconomic status, demographic factors, air pollution, and proximity to roads.
 
Conway said that because of the kind of data used, the studies could only “suggest very strongly that we should find out much more about aircraft noise and circulatory disease”.

You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs