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Aircraft noise exposure poses increased hypertension risk

A study of 420 people living in close vicinity to Athens International Airport, Greece, has suggested that long-term exposure to aircraft noise could lead to health complications. Approximately 600 planes take off and land in the airport each day. According to the study’s findings, published in Occupational And Environmental Medicine, this was particularly true of people exposed during the night, who had an increased risk of possibly developing hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia or stroke.

When all cases were considered, for each added 10dB of aircraft noise at night, a 69 per cent heightened risk for hypertension was noted. With the inclusion of new cases only, every additional 10dB doubled this risk. Doctor-diagnosed cardiac arrhythmia was associated with aircraft noise exposure at night too, with an odds ratio of 2.09. However, although stroke risk also increased, the association was less significant.The authors of the study have warned that it is not yet possible to draw firm conclusions based on their findings until further evidence becomes available, as this is among the first long-term follow-up studies based on aircraft noise.