ISGlobal: Traffic noise causes as much disease as air pollution

ISGlobal: Traffic noise causes as much disease as air pollution

News from ISGlobal

The city of Barcelona could reduce its burden of disease by 13% annually by complying with international recommendations on physical activity, access to green spaces, and exposure to air pollution, noise and heat. Road traffic noise is the factor that causes the most disease, followed by lack of physical activity and exposure to air pollution. These are the main conclusions of a new study by ISGlobal.

The research, which has been published in Environment International, used the Urban and Transport Planning Health Impact Assessment (UTOPHIA) tool developed at ISGlobal. The authors of the new study have estimated the burden of disease and the annual cost associated with this burden to the public health care system. They also compared annual exposure estimates for 1.36 million Barcelona residents aged 20 years or older with international guidelines.

Traffic-related noise alone accounts for 36% of the total burden of disease attributable to urban and transport planning, an even higher percentage than that attributable to air pollution. The mean daytime and nighttime noise levels in Barcelona—65.1 and 57.6 decibels, respectively—exceed the maximum levels of 55 and 40 decibels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

More information:
ISGlobal website

Reference article:
Mueller N, Rojas-Rueda D, Basagaña X, et al. Health impacts related to urban and transport planning: A burden of disease Assessment. Environment International, 2017 Oct;107:243-257. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.07.020. Epub 2017 Aug 1.