Published on November 29, 2013
The effects of environmental noise on human health: an epidemiological approach in Pisa Immagini: 123rf.com; T. Eldwell; Andy A. Davide Petri
The sound What is the sound?! Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted trough some medium, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing.! ! But HOW the sound can become a noise?
The noise Sound that is unwanted or that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life, is called a Noise. When there is a lot of noise in the environment, it is termed as noise pollution.! This term comes from the latin nauseas, that means seasickness. Flickr: mararie Or from a derivate of Latin word noxia or noceo (I do harm) referring originally to nuisance noise.! World Health Organization stated that “Noise must be recognized as one of the major threat to human well-being”
The measure of the noise The noise, and the sound in general, can be measured in decibels (dB) (1/10 of a bel)! Named in honor of Alexander Graham Bell, acoustic studious and inventor of the ﬁrst practical telephone SOUND LEVEL (dB) 120 100 90 80 70 60 50 20 10 PERCEPTION EXAMPLE! Extreme jet take off at 100 m! Loud car horn! Very loud heavy trafﬁc! Very noisy ofﬁce or trafﬁc! Noisy ofﬁce or trafﬁc! Average ofﬁce Noisy normal conversation! Quiet room! Very faint normal breathing
Strength of effects on ! human health (*1 IEH 97, *2 Nederlands 97) [Porter, Flindell, Berry, NPL report CMAM 16, 13]
Levels of hazard dB(A) [Porter, Flindell, Berry, NPL report CMAM 16, 17]
Generic curve for noise effects versus noise exposure showing three assessment outcomes! [Porter, Flindell, Berry, NPL report CMAM 16, 23]
Cardiovascular diseases Noise likely affects the cardiovascular system through the stimulation of hormones such as cortisol, noradrenaline and adrenaline. However, it is not clear how people are able to adapt to these changes when they are exposed to loud noise over a long period.! Acute physiological reactions to noise include an immediate increase in heart rate and in peripheral vasoconstriction and blood pressure, nevertheless the adaptation to these stimulations it was shown, it was very quick! [IEH Review, 1997, pagg.10-11]
Sleep disturbance Noise can disturb sleep not only by waking people up but also by shifting them from deep to light sleep.! The evidence suggests that air trafﬁc is less likely to cause sleep disturbance than road trafﬁc. Road trafﬁc is more changeable and less predictable. The time needed to fall asleep has been found to be affected not only by noise intensity of road trafﬁc but also by the number of noise peaks. ! Living less than 20 meters from a busy road has been found to predict insomnia. [Franssen EAM, Dongen JEF van, Ruysbroek JHM, Vos F, Stellato R Hinder, RIVM rapport 815120001, 2004]
Sleep disturbance Insomnia and broken sleep are unpleasant experiences and they can lead, the day after, to drowsiness, lower mood and poor performance, including slower reaction times. Sleep disturbance has been associated with coronary heart disease, but it is also possible that people affected by this illness is susceptible of being woken by noise. [Lambert & Vallet, 1994]
Annoyance Any feeling of resentment, displeasure, discomfort and irritation occurring when a noise intrudes into someone’s thoughts and moods or interferes with activity. [WHO Environmental Health Criteria 12 - Noise, World Health Organization, Geneva, 1980] The relationship between social class and annoyance and noise annoyance is consistent. If anything, higher socioeconomic status is related to higher annoyance. [Bradley & Jonah, 1979] [Franssen EAM, Dongen JEF van, Ruysbroek JHM, Vos F, Stellato R Hinder, RIVM rapport 815120001, 2004]
Annoyance and sound level Number of studies considerate in this ﬁgure:! 20 aircraft noise! 26 road trafﬁc noise! 9 railway noise [Miedema and Oudshoorn 2001] [Babisch W. et al, Annoyance due to aircraft noise has increased over the years—Results of the HYENA study. Environment International, 2009, 35:1169-1176]
Endocrine responses The most convincing evidence suggests that the adrenal medullary hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline, are raised in working populations exposed to high levels of noise, though this has not been conﬁrmed in all studies. Flickr: pamhule [Buczynski & Kedziora, IEH Review 1994, pag. 30]
Children’s Cognitive Performance Speciﬁc impacts of chronic exposure to aircraft, rail and road trafﬁc noise on children’s cognitive performance:! difﬁculty in concentrating, ! difﬁculty in keeping attention, ! difﬁculty in remembering, especially complex issues, ! poorer reading ability and school performance,! Flickr: Libertinus poorer discrimination between sounds and perception of speech.
Moreover...house’s values loss Noise level class in dB(A) NSDI Value <45 0 45-50 1.1 50-55 1.3 55-60 1.7 60-65 1.9 >65 1.9 [Udo, Janssen, Kruitwagen, Stilte heeft zjin prjijs, ESB 13/01/06, pgg.14-16]
Sound in the environment The noise echoes from the mountain sides and has an effect like an amphitheater. As a result, the sound level is relatively high on the mountain sides. Often from the tops of the mountains you can hear the trafﬁc noise coming from miles away. ! So in Alpine valleys at a distance from 1 to 1.5 km you measure the same sound level as in plains at 280 meters from the road. Fonte: Tumblr [Heimann et al., ALPNAP, 2007]
The marine environment The noise could be really annoying in water environment too, and may be very dangerous for those species living in it. In fact, with the passage from the land to the sea, the animals could not trust the light because it was too weak, so their acoustic instrumentation became really precise and sophisticated.! Sea animals need silence for:! orientation! communication! predation! reproduction! sociality [Arpat, GIONHA, 2012, pag.56]
Is there really a noise effect on wildlife? Environmentalists say “Yes”! Skeptics say “No”! Interference with communication... especially Habituation to noise is common! bird calls! Starling infestation around airports! Masks predation! ‘Bird-blasters’ in vineyards! Noise frightens animals, just as it does people! Calls up ‘ﬁght or ﬂight’ response! Acquatic mammals with ear traumas! Wildlife invading urban areas! Animals live near highways, railroad, and maglev tracks ! Cows grazing next to maglev test track ! Researchers say “Maybe” [Carl Henson, High Speed train Noise effects on livestock and wildlife]
Transport issues trough wilderness areas Physical barrier to migration! Avoidance problem – train/animal collision! Visual disturbance! Noise disturbance Compromised habitat [Carl Henson, High Speed train Noise effects on livestock and wildlife] Flickr: Carol Mitchell
Transport issues trough fenced rural areas Physical barrier! Visual disturbance! Noise disturbance [Carl Henson, High Speed train Noise effects on livestock and wildlife]
How can we reduce the noise? [Nijland, Van Kempen, Van Wee, Jabben; Costs and beneﬁts of noise abatement measures; 2002, pag.3]
A focus on rail trafﬁc For rail trafﬁc, improving the brakes of freight trains is the most cost-effective measure, if done on a large scale, retroﬁtting the vast majority of wagons; whereas the construction of low-noise tracks on new railway lines is the less cost effective one. The ﬁgure shows that the maximum total emission reduction of 7 dB(A ) will be reached when 100% of the freight wagons have low-noise brakes. If this ﬁgure is only 50%, a reduction of only 2 dB(A ) is achieved. [Nijland, Van Kempen, Van Wee, Jabben; Costs and beneﬁts of noise abatement measures; 2002, pag.7]
Mitiga.rumore project In South Tyrol The "mitiga.rumore" project, ﬁnanced by the ERDF, arises from the need to ﬁnd alternative solutions to the barriers for reducing railway noise.! In South Tyrol, because of the topographical conformation, in some cases it is not possible or ineffective the construction of noise barriers. In fact houses are often at an altitude higher than the binary, and the railway line winding curves have relatively narrow angles thus are as particularly noisy.
Mitiga.rumore project RFI has granted the Autonomous Province of Bolzano to install rails on two different types of vibration dampers and lubrication systems.! Lubrication systems are applied on a stretch of rail in the curve. The friction greater in curves between the wheel and the rail is thus reduced and the noise mitigated, the studies for results are still on going. The vibration damping rubber and steel, have been applied to the rail fungiform shape on a straight section between the municipalities of Bronzolo and Ora. ! They absorb and dampen the vibrations, with a reduction of 1 db(A), beyond human perception.
We also can take measures! What people usually do when the noise is too loud?! Close themselves in house! Wear earplugs! Install windows with double glazing! Use white noise! Change location Flickr: Tighten Up!
Cardiovascular effects of environmental railway noise: research in Austria Peter Lercher and his team have noticed that too few studies were done looking to some kind of connection between rail noise exposure and human health, so they did a survey in 2011 in the Tyrol region, where the railway noise in the nighttime was 3 dB(A) higher than daytime. [Lercher P, Botteldooren D, Widmann U, Uhrner U, Kammeringer E. Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: Research in Austria. Noise Health 2011;13:234-50] [Heimann et al., ALPNAP, 2007]
Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: research in Austria Methods 2 areas: Unterinntal and Wipptal! 5 dBa classes! Questionnaire: sociodemographic, house, education, perception of noise, lifestyle, health status,...! Data analysis with a non-parametric linear regression and its 95% conﬁdence interval Flickr: Dawn Ellner
Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: research in Austria Results Annoyance Gender [Lercher P, Botteldooren D, Widmann U, Uhrner U, Kammeringer E. Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: Research in Austria. Noise Health 2011;13:234-50]
Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: research in Austria Results (adjusted for the other factors) Age Family History Health Status [Lercher P, Botteldooren D, Widmann U, Uhrner U, Kammeringer E. Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: Research in Austria. Noise Health 2011;13:234-50]
Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: research in Austria Discussion Males, generally, are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and women show greater resistance to stress between puberty and menopause. The Tyrol studies show that men did exhibit stronger effects in interactions with noise exposure and older age.! Although, the ﬁndings of the studies suggest the middle age ranges (40-60 years) to be associated with hypertension, but not other ages. ! Family history of hypertension is an established major risk factor for the development of hypertension.! In both TRANSIT and the ALPNAP studies depressive symptoms or depression diagnosis were signiﬁcant contributors in an angina pectoris regression model.
The SERA Project The impact of environmental pollution produced by airports on resident’s health. The purpose of this project is to give a methodology for the start of surveillance systems in matter of noise and atmospheric pollution and related health effects between residents near 6 italian airports.
The questionnaire comes from a translation of HYENA’s.! But what is HYENA? HYENA (HYpertension and Exposure to Noise near Airports)(2002-2006) was ﬁnanced by UE within the 6th program of research that has been considered to be the main target to valuate the impact on blood pressure of road or airport noise. This project showed a 10% greater risk of hypertension for each increase equal to 10 db(A) in airport noise levels, in citizens living in Amsterdam, Athens, Stockholm, London, Berlin and Milan.
The SERA project in Pisa 1 year >300 subjects >1000 contacts 5 researchers 4 zones
SERA project: the zones We divided Pisa in 4 zones:! Zone 1: High level of planes noise! Zone 2: Medium level of both plane and car noise! Zone 3: High level of trafﬁc noise! Zone 4: control
Questionnaire ✓ 3 measures of blood pressure! ✓ Job! ✓ House! ✓ Noise annoyance! ✓ Education! ✓ Noise perception! ✓ Health status and meds! ✓ Air pollution! ✓ Annoyance ✓ Sleep The analysis of databases are still in process at the ARPA Lazio and we’ll know the results as soon as possible.
June 21st 2013! Ten million euros will be given by the government to the families living in via Cariola and Carrareccia to buy another house away from the airport, other three from the region and three from the SAT. http://iltirreno.gelocal.it/pisa/cronaca/2013/06/21/news/via-cariola-dieci-milioni-dal-governo-1.7298370
AND THEN... Flickr: sorensiim SERF
The railway situation in Pisa For this study, we considered the two rail stations and the warehouse location. For each station, of course we have several noises, principally related to arrivals and departures, but we mustn’t forget all the human trafﬁc nearby and the consequent chat. For example in Centrale we can see (and listen too of course!): ! the arrival noises (squeal of breakes), ! the departure noises (changes, simple passage) ! the human-related noises (chat chat, speakers, trolleys)
1st step: detections Once we decided the locations we selected 30 spots, considering train directions ! before! in! the station after! + some points at the warehouse! With:! proximity to the railway! houses with eligible people (minimum 5 years of residence) During the detection the really important thing to respect was to wait for three train passages to consider valid the detection itself.
2nd step: data analysis With the software dbTrait, we retraced the whole measure ﬁnding the peaks and, using different colors, giving them a speciﬁc source.
3rd step: the choice of the sample Later I will choose randomly the sample in the roads near the detections, respecting the bonding of residence and closeness to the train tracks. I’m thinking to divide the group in two subgroups characterized by different suffered sounds: one for brake squeal and the other one for simple passages. ! After that the history repeats with the contact of the subjects and the administration of the questionnaire.
4th step: the questionnaire For this work I want to take the bases of SERA questionnaire and modify it with some new questions that will help me with my study. In particular I will ask something about the general opinion of the railway stations and trains generally and some questions to separate two different sounds produced by trains: squeal and simple passage.
5th step: data analysis Then we will insert all the answers into a dedicated software, done appositely for the SERA project. Through this program we will able to process all database doing proper statistics analysis, searching for a correlation between environmental noise and human health. centrofox.org
Expectations Using my experience with the previous study, even if no ofﬁcial result has been published yet, I expect to ﬁnd a correlation between cardiovascular diseases and environmental noise, especially for those who are older and without structures that can reduce the outside noise. ! I want also to specify that the railway noise is really different from the aircraft and trafﬁc noise, and some people, living from a long time nearby, can be used to that noise.! Beside, the routes of airplanes and cars are the same everyday; in the train case, unless someone lives near the stations, the railway net is quite huge and well expanded.
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The effects on our body [NELSON P M, Transportation Noise Reference Book, London: Butterworth & Co, 1987.]
And then...the SERF! Studio Epidemiologico sul Rumore Ferroviario My future job is right the prosecution of SERA project, after we analyzed how the human health may be inﬂuenced by trafﬁc and airplane noise, we would to investigate the next noise source: trains.
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