Just noise…

Posted on June 14, 2011


Although I confessed to being slightly behind with reading, it seems I could not have been more timely where my post on noise was concerned. A recent report from the European Union (this is paraphrased from a newspaper, I haven’t been able to find the link to the actual report yet. Although a link to a recent report can be found here) seems to have looked at the impact of noise pollution on mortality in EU member states. Just noise that is, not in combination with air pollution (see previous post)….

Given the spelling mistakes and awkward sentences that must haunt the posts on this blog, it may seem obvious English is not my first language. Hence a reference to a Dutch newspaper (well, tabloid really) article published today (link) about the EU report. Apparently, 700 people (I like round numbers when it comes to population estimates :-)) die in the Netherlands  each year from noise pollution, which is more than from traffic accidents. The article further cites a total of 700.000 people who are structurally annoyed by noise pollution with about half of them having sleeping problems as a result. Again, I haven’t seen the report (yet), but this is a large number of people.


Living in Manchester,  I would imagine the relative contribution of noise to mortality may just be a little bit higher than in the Netherlands. ..

On a side note, based on calculations of Disability-adjusted Life Years (DALYs) traffic noise pollution was ranked as having a medium public health impact by the multinational Environmental Burden of Disease in Europe (EBoDE) pilot project (link), together with second hand smoke, radon, lead,ozone and dioxins. Above benzene and formaldehyde, but below particulate air pollution which was ranked as high public health impact (with high certainty of assessment) (figure). I haven’t seen the numbers, and although the actual ranking may be debatable it does provide an evidence-based classification of the seriousness of noise pollution (independent of one’s personal point of view on the matter) compared to other factors. Moreover however, it shows that particulate air pollution remains to be a very important public health issue; despite the measures that have already been taken and the fact that at the very least theoretically we know how to solve it…