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Is Living Near an Airport Dangerous for Your Health?

I also look forward to the study proving that obnoxious rock music can kill you too.

Theodore Dalrymple


October 29, 2013 - 5:00 pm
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Nothing I ever wrote provoked quite as many hostile responses as my suggestion in an article in Belgium that rock music of all kinds was a terrible environmental pollutant and ought to be strictly controlled, like car exhaust or industrial effluent. I also suggested that its agitating effect upon youth was a cause alike of much bad behavior and many car accidents. Moreover, in the future there will be an epidemic of well-merited deafness. The young were particularly infuriated.

Considering the awfulness of noise as a destroyer of quality of life, its effects on health have been comparatively little studied. Some time ago, however, it was discovered that those living near a major airport, Schiphol in Amsterdam, and subjected to aircraft noise had higher blood pressure than those who lived in its absence. Two papers in a recent edition of the British Medical Journal, one from Britain and one from America, confirm and extend this observation.

The American paper analyzed the admission rates to hospital for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke of those who lived near airports and those who did not. They analyzed the data from 89 airports. They found that those exposed to 10 decibels extra of aircraft noise had a 3.5 percent increased admission rate for such diseases, and they estimated that overall 2.3 percent of all admissions for such disease were attributable to aircraft noise.

The British paper analyzed hospital admission rates for the same diseases in the geographical area around Heathrow Airport, the busiest long-haul international airport in the world (and the worst, in my experience). The authors controlled the results for such possible confounders as air pollution and road traffic noise; they found that those exposed to the highest levels of daytime noise had a 25 percent increased rate of stroke and a 20 percent increased rate of coronary artery disease. The authors warned, however, that they had not controlled for all possible relevant confounders, and therefore, in effect, that their results must be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt.

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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It might help if the studies took into account income, ethnicity, demographics, etc. Just telling me there is a correlation tells me nothing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
FTR I've worked at intl airports 12 of my 19 years in my field whereas MOST workplaces with 24 hour ops and shift work and/ or constant on-call protocols has employees with poor lifestyle choices.

The same can be said of hospitals, law enforcement etc
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sounds like airport personnel, consisting primarily of government/ public sector union types eat/ live poorly.

Knock me over with a feather.

Hey I'm looking forward to a similar 'study' and results at auto manufacturing plants..!

For me, O'Scare is far worse than Heathrow.

As for rock music, you obviously don't write, play nor sing. Rock, NWOBHM keeps me young, alert and relishing each and every day.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Personally, I look forward to studies of the effect of rock music on cardiovascular disease. I am sure that there is a correlation.

Perhaps so. There is certainly a mountain of anecdotal evidence for it causing brain rot.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is also a great deal of anecdotal evidence for religious "literature" causing brain rot.

Regarding rock music vs. aircraft noise; one difference is that most people subject themselves to rock music voluntarily. And usually when they are supposed to be awake, too.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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