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2016 Conference

Abstract Number: P1-378 | ID: 3686

World Health Organization Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: from scientific evidence to formulation of recommendations

Marie-Eve Heroux*, World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Germany, herouxm@ecehbonn.euro.who.int; Jos Verbeek, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland, jos.verbeek@ttl.fi;
Introduction
Significant new research in the area of environmental noise and health has taken place since the last guidelines on noise were published by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO Regional Office for Europe is currently coordinating the systematic review of pertinent literature in order to provide recommendations for the protection of public health as part of the upcoming WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region.
Methods
WHO has adopted internationally recognized standards and methods for guideline development to ensure that guidelines are free from biases and meet public health needs. Building on the GRADE approach, a specific decision making framework has been developed to assess the quality of evidence of the relationship between source-specific environmental noise and health outcomes, and come to recommendations of noise exposure levels above which there is an increased risk of adverse health effects.
Results
The guidelines include a review of the evidence of the critical health effects of environmental noise: effects on sleep, annoyance, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular diseases, hearing impairment and tinnitus. Other potential health outcomes with less evidence are also systematically reviewed, but have less impact on the development of recommendations: adverse birth outcomes, quality of life, wellbeing and mental health, and diabetes and metabolic diseases. The noise sources considered include aircraft, rail, road, wind turbines and leisure noise. Additionally, the guidelines review the potential health benefits from noise mitigation and interventions to decrease noise levels.
Conclusions
The Guidelines provide up-to-date information on the health risks from environmental noise and evidence-based recommendations in order to support WHO Member States of the European Region in their efforts to prevent and control exposure to excessive environmental noise.