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Years of life lost and morbidity cases attributable to transportation noise and air pollution: A comparative health risk assessment for Switzerland in 2010

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Vienneau Danielle, Perez Laura, Schindler Christian, Lieb Christoph, Sommer Heini, Probst-Hensch Nicole, Künzli Nino, Röösli Martin,
Project Transportation noise, annoyance, sleep and cardiometabolic risk: an integrated approach on short- and long-term effects
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Volume (Issue) 218(6)
Page(s) 514 - 521
Title of proceedings International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
DOI 10.1016/j.ijheh.2015.05.003


© 2015 Elsevier GmbH. Background: There is growing evidence that chronic exposure to transportation related noise and air pollution affects human health. However, health burden to a country of these two pollutants have been rarely compared. Aims: As an input for external cost quantification, we estimated the cardiorespiratory health burden from transportation related noise and air pollution in Switzerland, incorporating the most recent findings related to the health effects of noise. Methods: Spatially resolved noise and air pollution models for the year 2010 were derived for road, rail and aircraft sources. Average day-evening-night sound level (Lden) and particulate matter (PM10) were selected as indicators, and population-weighted exposures derived by transportation source. Cause-specific exposure-response functions were derived from a meta-analysis for noise and literature review for PM10. Years of life lost (YLL) were calculated using life table methods; population attributable fraction was used for deriving attributable cases for hospitalisations, respiratory illnesses, visits to general practitioners and restricted activity days. Results: The mean population weighted exposure above a threshold of 48dB(A) was 8.74dB(A), 1.89dB(A) and 0.37dB(A) for road, rail and aircraft noise. Corresponding mean exposure contributions were 4.4, 0.54, 0.12μg/m3 for PM10. We estimated that in 2010 in Switzerland transportation caused 6000 and 14,000 YLL from noise and air pollution exposure, respectively. While there were a total of 8700 cardiorespiratory hospital days attributed to air pollution exposure, estimated burden due to noise alone amounted to 22,500 hospital days. Conclusions: YLL due to transportation related pollution in Switzerland is dominated by air pollution from road traffic, whereas consequences for morbidity and indicators of quality of life are dominated by noise. In terms of total external costs the burden of noise equals that of air pollution.