?Research has correlated exposure to noise with physiological
changes in blood pressure, sleep, digestion and other stress-related
disorders. People complain that noise makes them sick. The word noise
is derived from the Latin word, noxia, meaning injury or hurt. In a
1997 study by Arline Bronzaft, Ph.D., et. al. in which a questionnaire
was distributed to two groups, one living within the flight pattern of
a major airport and the other in a quiet neighborhood, the researchers
found that nearly seventy percent of the residents surveyed living
within the flight corridors reported themselves bothered by aircraft
noise. They also reported that these noises interfered with daily
Further, the subjects who were bothered by aircraft noise were more
likely to complain of sleep difficulties and more likely to perceive
themselves to be in poorer health. When we examine noise in our
communities, we must remember that the noise which injures parents may
very likely be injuring our children, as well. A study by Cohen, et.
al., in 1980, examined the impact of aircraft noise on children's
health and found higher systolic and diastolic pressure in children
living near the Los Angeles airport when compared to children living
further away. Evans, et. al. in 1995 found a relationship between
chronic noise exposure and elevated neuroendocrine and cardiovascular
measures for children living near Munich's International Airport.?
?Since the 1970's, many studies have found aircraft noise linked to the following:
?learning and academic performance
These trends need further analysis and documentation. Since the early
1980's, Federal funding for noise research has been nearly impossible
to obtain in this country. Too few studies on the impact of noise on
health have been conducted in the United States.
In a 1997 study by Arline Bronzaft, Ph.D., et. al. in which a
questionnaire was distributed to two groups, one living within the
flight pattern of a major airport and the other in a quiet
neighborhood, the researchers found that nearly seventy percent of the
residents surveyed living within the flight corridors reported
themselves bothered by aircraft noise. They also reported that these
noises interfered with daily activities. Further, the subjects who
were bothered by aircraft noise were more likely to complain of sleep
difficulties and more likely to perceive themselves to be in poorer
health. When we examine noise in our communities, we must remember
that the noise which injures parents may very likely be injuring our
children, as well.?
?The Lancet study found each five decibel increase in noise level was
linked to children being up to two months behind in their reading age.
A US expert said the study supported previous research findings.
The children, all aged nine or 10, attended schools near to London's
Heathrow Airport, Schiphol in the Netherlands and Barajas in Spain.?
?But the researchers said their findings applied to the area around any airport.
Exposure to aircraft noise was associated with impaired reading
comprehension, even after factors such as socio-economic differences
between schools were taken into account.
Reading age was delayed by up to two months per five decibel increase
in noise levels in the UK children studied, who attended schools in
the boroughs of Hounslow, Hillingdon and Slough, and up to one month
in the Dutch children.?
?Studies conducted in both Los Angeles and Munich found that average
blood pressure levels were slightly elevated in a group of
schoolchildren exposed to aircraft noise. However, neither study
provides conclusive proof that aircraft noise causes chronic stress in
One year later the researchers in Los Angeles did a follow-up study,
and found no measurable difference in blood pressure levels between
children exposed to aircraft noise, and those who were not. In the
Munich study, it is unclear what may have caused the observed effects;
other factors, such as diet, could have contributed to the changes in
This report was not well translated into English, but you may be able
to glean some information none the less ?In a large number of studies
are emphasized, that the aircraft traffic has reflected negative ly
over the habitants' health living near to the airport complexes. Among
the multieffects of the harmful influence, most aggressive is the
noise influence. It considers that as a very strong factor of
stressogen, it is ethiologically concerned with reducing of the
unspecifical resistance of the constitution, with increased risk of
mental disorders and
diseases, blood-vascular, digestion systems etc. Systematically
disturbing of the calmness and sleep are aggravated elements into the
vice circle of the pathological processes.?
?WHEN the Sharmas' six-year-old son Vineet began to get
increasingly irritable, prone to throwing tantrums and even perform
poorly in his studies, they attributed it to a lot of things.
Adjustment problems at his new school, the bad company of the boy next
door, or lack of parental attention because both had busy corporate
jobs. Anything but the real problem: a chronic-noise environment.
The Sharmas had been living near a big airport for five years now.
Following their paediatrician Dr. S. Raghunath Rai's revelation of the
root cause of the problem, the Sharmas relocated to a quieter
?An increasing number of people live in the vicinity of major
airports and experience considerable noise and air pollution. Raised
blood pressure (BP) is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease
and the major risk factor for stroke (Whitworth 2003). Environmental
noise is a significant problem in Europe, and it is estimated that
roughly 20% of the European Union's population (close to 80 million
people) are exposed to noise levels that are considered unacceptable
(European Commission 1996).
Few investigators have studied health effects associated with exposure
to aircraft noise. Cardiovascular effects due to noise exposure have
been studied to some extent, but no clear exposure-response relations
are currently known (Babisch 2000), although a recent German study
showed an excess risk of myocardial infarction related to traffic
noise, but only in men (Babisch et al. 2005). An early European study
showed higher treatment rates for "heart trouble" and hypertension
among residents close to a major airport than among people living
farther away (Knipschild 1977), and a later review found that
hypertension was more prevalent among individuals living close to
airports (Vacheron 1992). However, results are equivocal both with
respect to BP increases (Babisch et al. 1990; Lercher et al. 2000;
Pulles et al. 1990) and the prevalence of hypertension (Bluhm et al.
2001; Eiff and Neus 1980; Herbold et al. 1989; Knipschild and Sallé
1979; Maschke 2003). A recent cross-sectional study indicated an
exposure-response relation between residence distance from a Swedish
airport and hypertension (Rosenlund et al. 2001). Similar results were
found in a community sample around a military airbase on Okinawa,
Japan, and in a cross-sectional survey around Schiphol airport in
Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Franssen et al. 2004; Matsui et al.
?Stress hormones are useful indicators to study mechanisms and
interactions between noise and health outcomes such as BP (Babisch et
al. 2001). The cortisol level is a good indicator of stress (Wust et
al. 2000). Salivary cortisol correlates well with free levels of
cortisol in serum, and correctly collected saliva samples have the
advantage of being stable for long periods at room temperature (Hofman
2001), which facilitates their use in multicenter studies.?
?The literature relating hypertension to air pollution is sparse,
and two recently published studies show contradictory results
(Ibald-Mulli et al. 2004; Zanobetti et al. 2004), but there is a
wealth of literature on air-pollution?related cardiovascular effects,
particularly associated with short-term changes in particulate air
pollution levels (Dockery 2001). A recent study showed increased
cardiopulmonary mortality associated with living near major roads
(Hoek et al. 2002). However, although mortality was associated with
living near roads, there was less consistency in the relation with
ambient air pollution concentrations. In spite of this, no attempts
were made to adjust for roadtraffic?related noise. Thus, it may be
important to assess ambient air pollution exposure as a possible
confounder/effect modifier of the association between community noise
and cardiovascular risk.?
?If you live within six miles of an airport, you are at heightened
risk of dying prematurely from environmentally induced cancer. The
culprit is the pollution spewing from jet aircraft, ground vehicles
and airport maintenance operations. The situation is about to get
worse. On April 5, President Clinton signed into law the Airports
Expansion Act (AIR-21), which gave the green light to build new
airports and add or extend runways at some 2,000 existing US airports,
including more than 500 airfields in major metropolitan areas. AIR-21
budgets $40 billion for airports construction, expansion and
improvements - a 33 percent increase - over the next three years.
Jack Saporito, President of the US Citizens Aviation Watch Association (CAW) -
coalition of concerned municipalities, environmental and grassroots
groups, aligned with 27 like-organizations around the world - points
to studies that have linked airport pollution to cancer, asthma, liver
damage, lung disease, lymphoma, depression, myeloid leukemia and
?Because of the documented presence of cancer-causing air
pollutants from jet engines, cancer concerns exist for populations
living near Chicago?s O?Hare and Midway airports. The concerns,
however, are based on projected cancer risks from measured pollutants.
This study examined actual cancer incidence observed in communities
near the two airports.
Cancer cases reported to the Illinois State Cancer Registry from 1987
to 1997 were used to calculate age-adjusted incidence rates among
populations living near the two airports. Cases were separated by ZIP
code into four study groups according to projected cancer risks from a
previous study as well as geographic distances to the airports.
Standardized rate ratios were computed for each of the study groups
relative to a reference group defined as areas at least eight miles
away from either airport. Gender- and race-specific rate ratios were
evaluated separately for all cancers combined and for each of 22
?Since the early reports of increased deaths from cardiopulmonary
disease (CPD) after serious air pollution episodes (Firket 1931; Logan
1953), studies both within the United States and abroad have found
similar short-term effects of air pollution (Dominici et al. 2003;
Samet et al. 2000; Zanobetti et al. 2003).
Studies have also found increased risk of CPD, noncancer respiratory,
and respiratory cancer deaths with chronic exposure to ambient
particulate matter (PM) (Abbey et al. 1999; Dockery et al. 1993;
McDonnell et al. 2000; Pope et al. 1995, 2002, 2004a), black smoke
(NOx) (Hoek et al. 2002), and nitrogen oxides (Hoek et al. 2002;
Nafstad et al. 2004). Four main prospective studies have been
conducted in the United States to assess long-term health effects of
ambient air pollution in adults [the Six Cities Study, the American
Cancer Society (ACS) study, the Adventist Health Study on the Health
Effects of Smog (AHSMOG), and the national cohort of male U.S.
veterans]. Associations with fine particulates [PM < 2.5 ?m in
aero-dynamic diameter (PM2.5)] have been found for all-cause
mortality, CPD mortality, and respiratory/lung cancer mortality in the
ACS, Six Cities, and AHSMOG studies and with mortality attributable to
ischemic heart disease (IHD), dysrhythmias, heart failure, and cardiac
arrest in the ACS study. AHSMOG (Abbey et al. 1999) has also shown
positive associations, although not always significant, between PM <
10 ?m in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) and all-natural-cause mortality
and CPD mortality in males but not in females.?
?Bearing in mind the proximity of the airport to residential areas,
the project poses numerous problems for human health, specifically due
to the high levels of noise to which the citizens will be exposed.
Noise can severely impact almost all functions, organs and systems of
the human body (central nervous, cardio-vascular, digestive and
endocrine systems). A Health Risk Assessment Report (HRAR), conducted
as additional to the EIA report, was supposed to show ?the actual
number of citizens affected by high noise levels living near the
airport? and ?to determine the sites that are covered by health
protection standards within the Public Safety Zone28?. The experts
admitted that meeting those two requirements is impossible because of
the lack of a thorough EIA. The conclusions of this report state that
assessment was made based on incorrect criteria, since there was no
thorough EIA procedure for the whole functioning of the airport. The
?The health risk for the population during the operation of the airport cannot be
assessed due to lack of objective data about the changes in the health
and demographic condition of the population and the lack of a thorough
EIA report. In this sense the assessment conducted in this report is
based on indirect criteria?29
According to the project description, one justification for the
extension of the airport is that it will prevent aircraft from flying
over the city of Sofia and thus will reduce noise levels. In the HRAR
experts recognise the opposite consequence ? due to traffic growth,
the number of affected citizens will be increased. A previous ban on
flights over the city of Sofia is persistently violated; therefore
citizens are convinced that no one can guarantee these new promises of
future prohibited flights. When a Public Safety Zone around the
airport was determined, an upper limit (contour) of 60 dB(A) was used
for daytime operation.
There is no night contour because according to the HRAR no night
flights are planned.Night flights were previously prohibited for a
short time but were soon permitted under a decision of the Ministry of
Environment and Waters in April 2002 with the exception of one flight
See page 2 of the Non-technical summary of the Final report of the
Environmental Impact Assessment for the Sofia airport project: LOT B1.
New terminal building and related facilities.
A further serious impact concerns the number of emission sources of atmospheric
pollutants (the aircraft gaseous emissions, exhaust fumes from the roadways and car
parks) that will definitely increase due to the growth of air and road traffic.?
?Trichloroethylene (TCE), is a volatile organic compound that has been
widely used as an industrial solvent. TCE is a colorless, odorless,
liquid. TCE may produce liver injury. Exposures to this compound
through inhalation may result in central nervous system depression,
including anaesthesia. In the past, TCE has been used as an anesthetic
(National Research Council [NRC], 1977). Other effects may include
irritation of the mucous membranes of the nose and throat and
irritation to the eyes (NRC, 1980). TCE has been classified by the EPA
Carcinogen Assessment Group (CAG) as a probable human carcinogen
(Group B2) via ingestion (US EPA, 1989). Trichloroethylene is
classified as a probable human carcinogen by CAG via inhalation (US
EPA, 1989). The Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for TCE is 5 parts per
Dichloroethylene (1,1-DCE) is a volatile organic chemical used as a
cleaning agent in chemical manufacturing. It is sometimes found in
groundwater as the result of decomposition of trichloroethane (TCA).
1,1-Dichloroethylene exhibits toxic effects to humans similar to TCE
through inhalation and ingestion exposures. This compound has
anesthetic properties, and exposures to high concentrations may cause
nausea and vomiting (US EPA, 1985a). The CAG has classified 1,1-DCE as
a possible human carcinogen (Group C) for both inhalation and
ingestion exposure routes (US EPA, 1989). The MCL is 7 parts per
?Environmental impacts and technical solutions
Everyone accepts that aviation?s environmental damage must be minimised and its
further growth made ?sustainable?. Emissions trading within and
between industries is, meanwhile, increasingly seen as the best way to
internalise the external costs of air transport all other activities.
Trading promises to reduce pollution overall by eliminating first
those sources that can be most inexpensively terminated while leaving
those responsible for hard-to-treat emitters, such as aircraft, with
time to develop the means to do so.
Environmental issues are, however, becoming ever more pressing. Not only is
aircraft noise at airports generating increased opposition but pressure on
governments and industry to cut greenhouse gasses mounts apace. Today?s jet
engines may be less noisy and more fuel efficient than their predecessors but,
because there are so many more of them, fuel consumption and the noise affecting
people living near airports are greater. It is thus far from true to
say that technical progress has cut the overall environmental impact
?Fuel consumption per passenger mile has been cut by 70 per cent since
the dawn of the jet age thanks to larger and sleeker aircraft and to
less thirsty engines. More economical turbines account for half this
gain. Airlines welcome such efficiency, as much because it saves them
money and reduces their exposure to oil price fluctuations, as for its
green contribution but is an illustration of how profits and
environmental protection can go hand in hand. However there is no
gainsaying the statement that, given continuing growth in air travel,
reducing the local and global environmental risks of aircraft
emissions is a profound challenge.?
Besides the above health risks, malaria can now be considered a risk
of residing near an airport, although small one!
?Health authorities in many countries are becoming increasingly
concerned about the potentially deadly risks of malaria carried into
their territory by "jet-setting" mosquitoes that travel on
international flights and spread the disease, according to a study
published in the August issue of The Bulletin of the World Health
Between 1969 and 1999, 12 countries reported a total of 87 cases of
malaria in people living near an airport. France heads the list, with
26 cases, followed by Belgium, 16, and the United Kingdom, 14 cases.
These "airport malaria" cases, occurring in or near airports, are
distinguished from other cases of imported malaria among persons who
contract the infection during a stay in a malarious area and
subsequently fall ill. The occurrence of a relatively large number of
cases of airport malaria in Paris and Brussels reflects the large
number of flights arriving from Central and West Africa. At least five
deaths have resulted; all cases occurred among people with no immunity
to the disease. Long delays in achieving the correct diagnosis
frequently resulted in-patients developing severe or complicated
malaria. Five cases of airport malaria occurred in Switzerland in
1990; in at least one case, 31 days elapsed before a correct diagnosis
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