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Substantial road traffic noise in urban areas contributes to sleep disturbance and annoyance
Date:9/10/2012

San Diego, CA, September 11, 2012 The World Health Organization recently recognized environmental noise as harmful pollution, with adverse psychosocial and physiological effects on public health. A new study of noise pollution in Fulton County, Georgia, suggests that many residents are exposed to high noise levels that put them at risk of annoyance or sleep disturbance, which can have serious health consequences. The research is published in the October issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"Our research estimated that the percentage of the overall populations at risk of high annoyance is 9.5%, and highly disturbed sleep at 2.3%," says co-investigator James B. Holt, PhD, of the Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. "Long-term exposure to noise could increase the risks of heart attack and high blood pressure. Nighttime noise can reduce sleep quality and increase morning tiredness and insomnia."

Fulton County, Georgia is a highly urbanized area incorporating the city of Atlanta and surrounding communities. Interstate Highway 285 runs around the heart of the county, and the area inside 285 has a complex high-density road network. Investigators collected a number of data sets to estimate road traffic noise exposure levels, including topographical information, vehicle volume and speed, and the mix of vehicle types. The US Federal Highway Administration's Traffic Noise Model was used to produce road traffic noise maps for daytime and nighttime. They calculated metrics to indicate the probability that certain percentages of the population, exposed to certain levels of road traffic noise, would be highly annoyed or have high levels of sleep disturbance, at a given point.

Three cities Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Alpharetta --- contributed to 79% of the esti
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Contact: Beverly Lytton
eAJPM@ucsd.edu
858-534-9340
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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