Health Impact Assessment for Noise in Europe ETC/ACM Technical Paper 2014/9

12 Oct 2015

Iulian Petchesi

ETC/ACM Technical Paper 2014/9 cover

Expected consequences of the limitations of the available noise exposure data

Exposure to noise from road traffic, railways or aircrafts leads to annoyance among 53 million adults; 21 million of them are highly annoyed. 34 Million adults are expected to experience noise related sleep disturbance; 14 million of them are severely sleep disturbed. Almost 1.7 million additional prevalent cases of hypertension in 2012 can be contributed to environmental noise. This is expected to result in 80 thousand additional cases each year of hospital admissions and to 18 thousand cases of premature mortality each year due to coronary heart disease and stroke. In addition we estimated that for 270 million residents in Europe the night-time noise guideline of the WHO (40 dB Lnight) is exceeded.

The reported impact is still an underestimation. Areas outside major agglomerations or not influenced by noise from major roads, major railways and major airports are not included in this study.

An important source of uncertainty in the health impact assessment could have been avoided if more reporting states had met the date of December 30, 2012 for the reporting of second round of noise mapping.
We imputed the missing data in the latest available database of the second round of noise mapping. Since the database only includes levels above 55 dB Lden and 50 dB Lnight, we extrapolated the noise exposure distribution downwards to levels as low as 40 dB Lden. The results of the study stress the importance of lower noise levels for the size of the health impact of community noise.

Prepared by: ETC/ACM members Danny Houthuijs, Wim Swart, Annemarie van Beek, Elise van Kempen, Frank de Leeuw (all National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands.

Published by: ETC/ACM, February 2015, 67 pp.