Exposure to aircraft and road traffic noise and associations with heart disease and stroke in six European countries: a cross-sectional study.
Floud S., Blangiardo M., Clark C., de Hoogh K., Babisch W., Houthuijs D., Swart W., Pershagen G., Katsouyanni K., Velonakis M., Vigna-Taglianti F., Cadum E., Hansell AL.
BACKGROUND: Although a number of studies have found an association between aircraft noise and hypertension, there is a lack of evidence on associations with other cardiovascular disease. For road traffic noise, more studies are available but the extent of possible confounding by air pollution has not been established. METHODS: This study used data from the Hypertension and Environmental Noise near Airports (HYENA) study. Cross-sectional associations between self-reported 'heart disease and stroke' and aircraft noise and road traffic noise were examined using data collected between 2004 and 2006 on 4712 participants (276 cases), who lived near airports in six European countries (UK, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Italy). Data were available to assess potential confounding by NO2 air pollution in a subsample of three countries (UK, Netherlands, Sweden). RESULTS: An association between night-time average aircraft noise and 'heart disease and stroke' was found after adjustment for socio-demographic confounders for participants who had lived in the same place for ≥ 20 years (odds ratio (OR): 1.25 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03, 1.51) per 10 dB (A)); this association was robust to adjustment for exposure to air pollution in the subsample. 24 hour average road traffic noise exposure was associated with 'heart disease and stroke' (OR: 1.19 (95% CI 1.00, 1.41), but adjustment for air pollution in the subsample suggested this may have been due to confounding by air pollution. Statistical assessment (correlations and variance inflation factor) suggested only modest collinearity between noise and NO2 exposures. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to aircraft noise over many years may increase risks of heart disease and stroke, although more studies are needed to establish how much the risks associated with road traffic noise may be explained by air pollution.