The negative effects of air pollution upon health may have been overestimated in studies that fail to also consider noise exposure as a factor.
A study conducted by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (TPH) suggests car, train and aircraft noise can also cause cardiovascular disease and claims health risks linked to the two issues may often be conflated.
The study looked at the contributory factors for heart attacks posed by air pollution and transportation noise in Switzerland between 2000 and 2008 – studies only taking fine particulate matter pollution into account suggested the risk for a heart attack rises by 5.2% per 10 microgram increase in particles per cubic metre.
Studies also taking noise into account revealed the risk from fine particulates was actually considerably less, increasing heart attack dangers by only 1.9%.
Martin Röösli, Head of Environmental Exposures and Health Unit at Swiss TPH, said: “Our study showed that transportation noise increases the risk for a heart attack by 2% to 3.4% per 10 decibels increase in the average sound pressure level at home.
“Strikingly, the effects of noise were independent from air pollution exposure.”