for Soundscape Awareness and Protection

359 - 1985 Wallace Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6R 4H4 Phone (604) 222-0207
Web Site: www.quiet.org E-mail: info@quiet.org

Fall, 2007

Increased drug use through air traffic noise
Air traffic noise causes affected people to visit their medical doctor more often and their doctors prescribe more drugs for them. That is the result of an epidemiological study commissioned by the Federal Environmental Agency of Germany. In the area surrounding a German airport with nocturnal air traffic operations the data of more than 800,000 persons—over 40% of the total population of the area in question—were analysed.

Nocturnal air traffic noise can cause illness
Study demonstrates: Nocturnal air traffic interferes with health and well-being

That is the result of an epidemiological study by Epi.Consult GmbH Bremen, commissioned by the Federal Environmental Agency of Germany. In the area surrounding a German airport with nocturnal air traffic operations the company analysed the data of more than 800,000 medically insured—that is over 40% of the total population of the region concerned.

The reasons leading to the study were, amongst others, observations by a group of medical doctors. In their offices the number of patients, who complained about psycho‑vegetative and heart troubles, irritability and diminished stamina, increased. The medical professionals suspected that these increasingly occurring diagnoses, as well as cases of hypertension, could possibly be traced to the nocturnal air traffic at the airport.
The epidemiological study examined possible connections between air traffic noise, and medical prescriptions by doctors working in the surroundings of an airport. It provides, amongst other important results, the following:

         •  By comparison with patients who were not exposed to nocturnal noise, the study found clearly increased prescription rates and pre-scribed quantities of certain drugs to lower blood‑pressure, for the treatment of heart and circulation ailments and depression (antidepressants), and tranquillisers.

         •  Diagnoses for female patients were more pronounced than those for male patients, with some applying only to women (antidepressants and tranquillisers).

         •  A clear correlation between intensity and time of the occurring air traffic noise was found: The highest increases in prescription rates and quantity of the various drug groups was demonstrable for those affected by nocturnal air traffic noise between 3 and 5 a.m.
The study suggests connections between air traffic noise and cardiovascular illnesses, as well as mental illnesses, although it cannot definitively prove them. The results are also supported by research from other countries, which indicates that air traffic noise can cause hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

The report on the research project "Detrimental Effect of Airtraffic Noise: Consumption of Medicines" is published on the Internet and available to download at <http://www.umweltdaten.de/ publikationen/fpdf‑1/3153.pdf> (1.47 MB, in German).

An English translation was published in the journal Public Health (© Springer-Verlag 2007), headlined “Night-time aircraft noise increases prevalence of prescriptions of antihypertensive and cardiovascular drugs irrespective of social class—the Cologne-Bonn Airport study,” by Eberhard Greiser, Claudia Greiser and Katrin Janhsen, Bremen University, Bremen, Germany.

Dessau, Germany, Feb. 22, 2007

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Date: Thursday, October 18, 2007 Time: 7:30 p.m.  Location: 3788 West 8th Ave., Vancouver
(In the lobby of a residential building, one block north of West Broadway and half a block west of Alma Street)

Speaker: David Jantzen, Senior Environmental Health Officer – Noise Control, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
Topic: Newest amendments to the Noise Control Bylaw, and law enforcement. - Everyone is welcome.

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