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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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 Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid