Ile-de-France: an alarming report attests to the dangerousness of transport noise for health

A study of the noise observatory in Île-de-France concludes that the noise pollution in the "dense area of ​​the Paris region" is very harmful to the health of its inhabitants.

107 766 years of healthy life are lost each year in Ile-de-France because of noise, according to the disturbing conclusions of a report by Bruitparif, the observatory of noise in Île-de-France, revealed by The world. In this "dense area of ​​Paris" where live 10 million inhabitants, 90% of the population is exposed to noise levels higher than the thresholds recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the areas most exposed to noise pollution from transport (located near an airport, motorway or near a railway for example), the inhabitants can even lose more than three years of life in good health . An alarming finding.

The health impact of environmental noise

"The health impacts of noise exposure are twofold: impacts on hearing and so-called extra-auditory impacts," writes the observatory. More specifically, "Hearing impacts can affect the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear." The extra-auditory impacts are not yet known, but they primarily concern the following areas: cardiovascular and metabolic effects ( endocrine and immune disorders, inter alia), discomfort, effects on sleep, learning disabilities, adverse effects during pregnancy, quality of life, mental health and well-being, among others ".

The prolonged exposure to environmental noise, especially in dense areas, is therefore a public health issue, yet still underestimated by the public authorities. On average, the noise generated by transport in the Paris conurbation is responsible each year for the loss of 75 000 healthy life years, a loss of 7.3 months per inhabitant on average during the year. a lifetime. Note that this loss can reach "18 months for people most exposed to noise".

The main negative effect observed on health remains the sleep disorders, which represent each year, the loss of 44 000 years of life in good health. "Hearing discomfort is the second health effect with 30,000 healthy years of life lost per year." The noise of road traffic constitutes "the main source of morbidity, concentrating alone 85% of estimates of loss of years of life in good health in the Paris agglomeration", alarmed the observatory . As such, Bruitparif classifies noise as "the second cause of morbidity behind air pollution" among the environmental risk factors in the city.

Noise causes stress

Last November, a study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2018 Scientific Sessions, held in Dallas, Texas, stated that prolonged exposure to noise would increase the risk of stroke and heart attack because it would fuel the activity of the amygdala, a region of the brain involved in the stress response.

According to researchers, chronic and high noise pollution increases stress, which in turn leads to increased inflammation of the blood vessels, which is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The researchers also noted that participants with the most stress-related brain activity were more than three times likely to experience a major cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke.

In January 2018, researchers also examined the impact of wind turbine noise on human health and concluded that it created significant stress for those most at risk. The scientific literature is thus full of alarming conclusions attesting to the negative effects of noise on health. WHO has re-evaluated its thresholds upwards: 53 decibels (dB) for road traffic on 24H and 45 dB during the night (between 22 hours and 6 hours in the morning), and 40 dB for aircraft.

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