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Research Article Advance Publication

Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1307156

High Blood Pressure and Long-Term Exposure to Indoor Noise and Air Pollution from Road Traffic

Maria Foraster,1,2,3 Nino Künzli,4,5 Inmaculada Aguilera,1,2 Marcela Rivera,6 David Agis,1,2 Joan Vila,2,7 Laura Bouso,1,2 Alexandre Deltell,8,9 Jaume Marrugat,7 Rafel Ramos,10,11 Jordi Sunyer,1,2 Roberto Elosua,7 and Xavier Basagaña1,2
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1Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; 2CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain; 3Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament de Ciències Experimentals i de la Salut (UPF), Barcelona, Spain; 4Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland; 5University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 6University of Montreal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM), Montréal, Canada; 7IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), Barcelona, Spain; 8GREFEMA (Grup de Recerca en Enginyeria de Fluids, Energia i Medi Ambient), Girona, Spain; 9University of Girona (UdG), Girona, Spain; 10Jordi Gol Institute for Primary Care Research (IDIAP-Jordi Gol) and Girona Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBGI), Catalan Institute of Health, Catalunya, Spain; 11Department of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Girona, Spain
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Citation: Foraster M, Künzli N, Aguilera I, Rivera M, Agis D, Vila J, Bouso L, Deltell A, Marrugat J, Ramos R, Sunyer J, Elosua R, Basagaña X. High Blood Pressure and Long-Term Exposure to Indoor Noise and Air Pollution from Road Traffic. Environ Health Perspect;

Received: 30 May 2013
Accepted: 7 July 2014
Advance Publication: 8 July 2014

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Background: Traffic noise has been associated with prevalence of hypertension, but reports are inconsistent for blood pressure (BP). People’s noise exposure indoors might be essential to ascertain effects and disentangle them from those suspected for traffic-related air pollution.

Objectives: We analyzed associations of long-term exposure to indoor traffic noise at bedrooms with prevalent hypertension, systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) BP, considering long-term exposure to outdoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Methods: We evaluated 1926 cohort participants at baseline (years 2003-2006, Girona – Spain). Outdoor annual average levels of nighttime traffic noise (Lnight) and NO2 were estimated at postal addresses with a detailed traffic noise model and a land-use regression model, respectively. Individual indoor traffic Lnight levels were derived from outdoor Lnight applying the insulations provided by reported noise-reducing factors. We assessed associations for hypertension and BP with multi-exposure logistic and linear regression models, respectively.

Results: Median levels were 27.1 dB(A) (indoor Lnight), 56.7 dB(A) (outdoor Lnight), and 26.8 µg/m3 (NO2). Spearman correlations between outdoor and indoor Lnight with NO2 were 0.75 and 0.23, respectively. The indoor noise model provided more consistent findings both for Lnight [per 5 dB(A)]: OR (hypertension) = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.99, 1.13; β (SBP) = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.29, 1.15); and NO2 (per 10 µg/m3): OR (hypertension) = 1.16, 95% CI: 0.99, 1.36; β (SBP) = 1.23, 95% CI: 0.21, 2.25; β (DBP) = 0.56, 95% CI: -0.03, 1.14). The indoor noise-SBP association was stronger and statistically significant with a threshold at 30 dB(A).

Conclusion: Long-term exposure to indoor traffic noise was associated with prevalent hypertension and SBP, independently of NO2. Associations were less consistent for outdoor traffic Lnight and likely affected by collinearity.

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