New evidence from WHO on health effects of traffic-related noise in Europe

Traffic-related noise accounts for over 1 million healthy years of life lost
annually to ill health, disability or early death in the western countries in
the WHO European Region. This is the main conclusion of the first report
assessing the burden of disease from environmental noise in Europe, released by
WHO/Europe. Noise causes or contributes to not only annoyance and sleep
disturbance but also heart attacks, learning disabilities and tinnitus.

Among environmental factors in Europe, environmental noise leads to a disease
burden that is second in magnitude only to that from air pollution. One in
three people experiences annoyance during the daytime and one in five has
disturbed sleep at night because of noise from roads, railways and airports.
This increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.

The new publication presents the results of an international study, coordinated
by WHO/Europe and supported by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre
(JRC), that reviews the evidence on health effects, provides guidance to
quantify risks from environmental noise and estimates the burden of disease in
western European countries.

This publication is primarily for policy-makers, experts, supporting agencies
and other stakeholders that need to estimate and act on the effects of
environmental noise. It provides the basis for revised WHO guidelines on noise,
which Member States requested at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on
Environment and Health, held in Parma, Italy in 2010.

More information: - Source: WHO Regional Office for Europe