Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Noise exposure and children's health

The RANCH project examined exposure-effect relationships between chronic aircraft noise exposure, chronic road traffic noise and combinations of chronic aircraft and road traffic noise exposure and health in 9-10 year old children living around major airports in the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. Children were selected to participate on the basis of external noise exposure at school, which was predicted from noise contour maps, modelling and on-site measurements. Schools matched for socio-economic position within countries were selected. Children completed a questionnaire that contained questions about aircraft annoyance and road traffic noise annoyance at school and home and their general health. Blood pressure was measured in a sub-sample in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Parents completed a questionnaire that contained questions about the child's mental health and about the family's health and social background. A total of 2844 children from 89 schools around Schiphol Amsterdam, Barajas Madrid and London Heathrow airports participated in this study.

The data from the three countries was pooled and analysed using multilevel modelling, which enabled data at both the school (e.g. aircraft noise exposure) and the individual level (e.g. mother's educational attainment) to be fitted in the same model. Analyses adjusted for age, gender, centre (NL, Spain or UK), mother's educational attainment, employment status, crowding, home ownership, long standing illness, main language spoken at home, parental support for school work and classroom glazing and the other noise exposure variable/s. For noise annoyance additional adjustments were made for home glazing, length of school enrolment and length of residency. For blood pressure there were additional adjustments for prematurity, parental high blood pressure, ponderosity, low birth weight, cuff size, room temperature and home glazing.

There was a non-linear exposure-response association between chronic aircraft noise exposure and annoyance at school and at home in all three countries. There was a linear exposure-response association between chronic road traffic noise exposure and annoyance at school in all three countries. The effect for road traffic noise was weaker than aircraft noise in terms of children reporting less annoyance for road traffic noise exposure than for aircraft noise exposure. There was no relationship between aircraft noise exposure and self-reported health or overall mental health. There was no relationship between road traffic noise exposure and self-reported health or overall mental health.

There was inconclusive evidence for an effect of aircraft noise or road traffic noise at school on children's blood pressure. Aircraft noise exposure at school was not associated with children's blood pressure in the pooled analyses. Aircraft noise exposure at home was associated with systolic blood pressure. For road traffic noise, there was an inverse relationship for systolic blood pressure and no association for diastolic blood pressure or heart rate. Combined exposure had an significant effect on annoyance. Children exposed to aircraft noise experienced greater annoyance from aircraft noise when also exposed to road traffic noise and vice versa, children exposed to road traffic noise who were also exposed to aircraft noise report higher annoyance from road traffic.Combined exposure was not related to self-reported health or overall mental health.

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INCAR - CSIC
Francisco Pintado Fe, 26
33011 Oviedo
Spain
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