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December 16, 2004

Traffic noise may cause early death

Noise damages both ears and the general health of people. Living in areas with high traffic noise levels may cause heart disease and high blood pressure. The noise may even cause early death.

This is the conclusion in a Danish study, based on international data and quoted in the Danish newspaper, Politiken.

"In particular, traffic noise at night affects blood pressure and the heart, especially among people who sleep with their windows open. You wake up frequently and are deprived of some of your deep sleep, and just like working at night it adversely affects your health," said Søren Peter Lund, senior researcher at the Danish Work Environment Institute, who carried out the study.

In Denmark, traffic noise causes between 800 and 2,200 hospital admissions for high blood pressure and heart ailments. Traffic noise was seen as the cause of 200-500 early deaths, annually, according to the Work Environment Institute estimate.

In Denmark, the annual cost to society from deaths and sick days due to traffic noise is estimated at between DKK1.8 billion and 5.1 billion, according to estimates by Mads Paabøl Jensen, an economist from Cowi Consult.

The study indicated that the risk of injury to your health increases by 9 percent for each increase of 5 dB in noise levels. Mads Paabøl Jensen told Politiken: "There can be no doubt that it would pay for society to do something about these problems."

Source: Politiken, 22.10.04

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