Aircraft noise: cause of increased blood pressure

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Washington, Feb 18 (UNI) People living near an international airport or under a flight path have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure due to noise pollution by aircraft.

Reasearchers claimed that people who have been living for at least five years near an international airport were at a higher risk than those residing at quiescent areas.

Monitoring 140 asleep people near London's Heathrow and three other major European airports, scientists from Imperial College London measured their blood pressure at an interval of 15-minutes, analysing how this relates to the noise recorded in the their bedrooms.

It was seen in the study published in the European Heart Journal that the blood pressure increased noticeably after experiencing a 'noise event' -- a noise louder than 35 decibels --such as aircraft travelling overhead, traffic passing outside, or a partner snoring.

An increase in night-time aeroplane noise of 10 dB increased the risk of high blood pressure by 14 per cent in both men and women.

''Noise from air traffic can be damaging for people's health, which is particularly significant in light of plans to expand international airports,'' said Lars Jarup, from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Imperial College London.

Hundreds of residents near the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok have threatened to disrupt flights next week by launching balloons and firing rockets, claiming compensation for noise pollution by aircraft.

Some 32 housing communities affected by the noise of aircraft taking off from and landing at the airport are locked in a confrontation with the country's civil airport utility since the airport opened in September 2006.

''Immediate measures need to be taken to reduce noise levels from aircraft, in particular during night-time, in order to protect people's health living near airports,'' Dr Jarup concluded.

UNI XC PD RAI1322

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