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Special Issue "The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 October 2016

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Peter Lercher (Website)

Division of Social Medicine, Medical University Innsbruck, Sonnenburgstraße 16, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Fax: +43 0512 9003 73251
Interests: environmental and social epidemiology; environmental health impact assessment; noise/vibration and air pollution; combined effects; quality of life
Guest Editor
Dr. Ronny Klaeboe (Website)

Department of Safety, Security and Environment Institute of Transport Economics Gaustadaleen 21, Oslo 0349, Norway
Phone: +4748957187
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Mariola Sliwinska-Kowalska

Department of Physical Hazards, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, P.O. Box 199, 90-950. Łódź, Poland

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Simultaneous exposure to more than one physical, chemical, biological and psychosocial hazard is common in home, transitional and occupational environments.

Especially, transportation (road, rail, and air) and occupational noise is often accompanied by exposure to vibrations, air pollutants, odors and other specific environmental contexts which may enhance or reduce the potential impact.

Unfortunately, in health impact assessments, noise sources are often treated as independent contributors with the potential risk of underestimating the true health impact.

At least in environmental health impact assessments (EHIAs), most countries require the assessment of cumulative effects and the discussion of potential interactions. However, research activities in this area are scarce, as can be observed in the last update of Team 8 of the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise (ICBEN). Also the publication options for this field are not encouraging and often results on combined effects remain unpublished.

This special issue is intended to provide an opportunity to the research community to publish the valuable results of studies which have dealt with the broad effects of combined/cumulative exposures in the environment (as defined by WHO).

The theme of noise should be the center of these publications. Reviews, research articles, methodological and papers concerning relevant policies and regulations are solicited. Please provide an abstract beforehand so we can confirm its suitability to the intended theme. We look forward to receiving your submissions.

Prof. Dr. Peter Lercher
Dr. Ronny Klaeboe
Prof. Dr. Mariola Sliwinska-Kowalska
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Keywords

  • noise
  • health impact assessment
  • environmental health impact assessment
  • cumulative risk
  • combined effects
  • multiple sources
  • home environment
  • occupational environment
  • vulnerable populations/persons

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Sleep Disturbance from Road Traffic, Railways, Airplanes and from Total Environmental Noise Levels in Montreal
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(8), 809; doi:10.3390/ijerph13080809
Received: 18 February 2016 / Revised: 2 August 2016 / Accepted: 4 August 2016 / Published: 11 August 2016
PDF Full-text (2008 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of our study was to measure the impact of transportation-related noise and total environmental noise on sleep disturbance for the residents of Montreal, Canada. A telephone-based survey on noise-related sleep disturbance among 4336 persons aged 18 years and over was [...] Read more.
The objective of our study was to measure the impact of transportation-related noise and total environmental noise on sleep disturbance for the residents of Montreal, Canada. A telephone-based survey on noise-related sleep disturbance among 4336 persons aged 18 years and over was conducted. LNight for each study participant was estimated using a land use regression (LUR) model. Distance of the respondent’s residence to the nearest transportation noise source was also used as an indicator of noise exposure. The proportion of the population whose sleep was disturbed by outdoor environmental noise in the past 4 weeks was 12.4%. The proportion of those affected by road traffic, airplane and railway noise was 4.2%, 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively. We observed an increased prevalence in sleep disturbance for those exposed to both rail and road noise when compared for those exposed to road only. We did not observe an increased prevalence in sleep disturbance for those that were both exposed to road and planes when compared to those exposed to road or planes only. We developed regression models to assess the marginal proportion of sleep disturbance as a function of estimated LNight and distance to transportation noise sources. In our models, sleep disturbance increased with proximity to transportation noise sources (railway, airplane and road traffic) and with increasing LNight values. Our study provides a quantitative estimate of the association between total environmental noise levels estimated using an LUR model and sleep disturbance from transportation noise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures)
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Open AccessArticle The Covariance between Air Pollution Annoyance and Noise Annoyance, and Its Relationship with Health-Related Quality of Life
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(8), 792; doi:10.3390/ijerph13080792
Received: 14 March 2016 / Revised: 1 July 2016 / Accepted: 29 July 2016 / Published: 6 August 2016
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Abstract
Air pollution originating from road traffic is a known risk factor of respiratory and cardiovascular disease (both in terms of chronic and acute effects). While adverse effects on cardiovascular health have also been linked with noise (after controlling for air pollution), noise [...] Read more.
Air pollution originating from road traffic is a known risk factor of respiratory and cardiovascular disease (both in terms of chronic and acute effects). While adverse effects on cardiovascular health have also been linked with noise (after controlling for air pollution), noise exposure has been commonly linked to sleep impairment and negative emotional reactions. Health is multi-faceted, both conceptually and operationally; Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) is one of many measures capable of probing health. In this study, we examine pre-collected data from postal surveys probing HRQOL obtained from a variety of urban, suburban, and rural contexts across the North Island of New Zealand. Analyses focus on the covariance between air pollution annoyance and noise annoyances, and their independent and combined effects on HRQOL. Results indicate that the highest ratings of air pollution annoyance and noise annoyances were for residents living close to the motorway, while the lowest were for rural residents. Most of the city samples indicated no significant difference between air pollution- and noise-annoyance ratings, and of all of the correlations between air pollution- and noise-annoyance, the highest were found in the city samples. These findings suggest that annoyance is driven by exposure to environmental factors and not personality characteristics. Analysis of HRQOL indicated that air pollution annoyance predicts greater variability in the physical HRQOL domain while noise annoyance predicts greater variability in the psychological, social and environmental domains. The lack of an interaction effect between air pollution annoyance and noise annoyance suggests that air pollution and noise impact on health independently. These results echo those obtained from objective measures of health and suggest that mitigation of traffic effects should address both air and noise pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures)
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Open AccessArticle Windmill Noise Annoyance, Visual Aesthetics, and Attitudes towards Renewable Energy Sources
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(8), 746; doi:10.3390/ijerph13080746
Received: 31 May 2016 / Revised: 12 July 2016 / Accepted: 16 July 2016 / Published: 23 July 2016
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Abstract
A small focused socio-acoustic after-study of annoyance from a windmill park was undertaken after local health officials demanded a health impact study to look into neighborhood complaints. The windmill park consists of 31 turbines and is located in the South of Norway [...] Read more.
A small focused socio-acoustic after-study of annoyance from a windmill park was undertaken after local health officials demanded a health impact study to look into neighborhood complaints. The windmill park consists of 31 turbines and is located in the South of Norway where it affects 179 dwellings. Simple exposure-effect relationships indicate stronger reactions to windmills and wind turbine noise than shown internationally, with the caveat that the sample size is small (n = 90) and responses are colored by the existing local conflict. Pulsating swishing sounds and turbine engine hum are the main causes of noise annoyance. About 60 per cent of those who participated in the survey were of the opinion that windmills degrade the landscape aesthetically, and were far from convinced that land-based windmills are desirable as a renewable energy source (hydropower is an important alternative source of renewables in Norway). Attitudes play an important role in addition to visual aesthetics in determining the acceptance of windmills and the resulting noise annoyance. To compare results from different wind turbine noise studies it seems necessary to assess the impact of important modifying factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures)
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Open AccessArticle Annoyance from Road Traffic, Trains, Airplanes and from Total Environmental Noise Levels
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(1), 90; doi:10.3390/ijerph13010090
Received: 12 July 2015 / Revised: 18 December 2015 / Accepted: 21 December 2015 / Published: 29 December 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1732 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
There is a lack of studies assessing the exposure-response relationship between transportation noise and annoyance in North America. Our aims were to investigate the prevalence of noise annoyance induced by road traffic, trains and airplanes in relation to distance to transportation noise [...] Read more.
There is a lack of studies assessing the exposure-response relationship between transportation noise and annoyance in North America. Our aims were to investigate the prevalence of noise annoyance induced by road traffic, trains and airplanes in relation to distance to transportation noise sources, and to total environmental noise levels in Montreal, Canada; annoyance was assessed as noise-induced disturbance. A telephone-based survey among 4336 persons aged >18 years was conducted. Exposure to total environmental noise (A-weighted outdoor noise levels—LAeq24h and day-evening-night equivalent noise levels—Lden) for each study participant was determined using a statistical noise model (land use regression—LUR) that is based on actual outdoor noise measurements. The proportion of the population annoyed by road traffic, airplane and train noise was 20.1%, 13.0% and 6.1%, respectively. As the distance to major roads, railways and the Montreal International Airport increased, the percentage of people disturbed and highly disturbed due to the corresponding traffic noise significantly decreased. When applying the statistical noise model we found a relationship between noise levels and disturbance from road traffic and total environmental noise, with Prevalence Proportion Ratios (PPR) for highly disturbed people of 1.10 (95% CI: 1.07–1.13) and 1.04 (1.02–1.06) per 1 dB(A) Lden, respectively. Our study provides the first comprehensive information on the relationship between transportation noise levels and disturbance in a Canadian city. LUR models are still in development and further studies on transportation noise induced annoyance are consequently needed, especially for sources other than road traffic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures)
Open AccessArticle A Simulated Environment Experiment on Annoyance Due to Combined Road Traffic and Industrial Noises
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8413-8433; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708413
Received: 20 February 2015 / Revised: 20 February 2015 / Accepted: 16 July 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1258 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Total annoyance due to combined noises is still difficult to predict adequately. This scientific gap is an obstacle for noise action planning, especially in urban areas where inhabitants are usually exposed to high noise levels from multiple sources. In this context, this [...] Read more.
Total annoyance due to combined noises is still difficult to predict adequately. This scientific gap is an obstacle for noise action planning, especially in urban areas where inhabitants are usually exposed to high noise levels from multiple sources. In this context, this work aims to highlight potential to enhance the prediction of total annoyance. The work is based on a simulated environment experiment where participants performed activities in a living room while exposed to combined road traffic and industrial noises. The first objective of the experiment presented in this paper was to gain further understanding of the effects on annoyance of some acoustical factors, non-acoustical factors and potential interactions between the combined noise sources. The second one was to assess total annoyance models constructed from the data collected during the experiment and tested using data gathered in situ. The results obtained in this work highlighted the superiority of perceptual models. In particular, perceptual models with an interaction term seemed to be the best predictors for the two combined noise sources under study, even with high differences in sound pressure level. Thus, these results reinforced the need to focus on perceptual models and to improve the prediction of partial annoyances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures)
Open AccessArticle Road-Traffic Noise: Annoyance, Risk Perception, and Noise Sensitivity in the Finnish Adult Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(6), 5712-5734; doi:10.3390/ijerph120605712
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 16 May 2015 / Accepted: 19 May 2015 / Published: 26 May 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (677 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Exposure to road-traffic noise commonly engenders annoyance, the extent of which is determined by factors not fully understood. Our aim was to estimate the prevalence and determinants of road-traffic noise annoyance and noise sensitivity in the Finnish adult population, while comparing the [...] Read more.
Exposure to road-traffic noise commonly engenders annoyance, the extent of which is determined by factors not fully understood. Our aim was to estimate the prevalence and determinants of road-traffic noise annoyance and noise sensitivity in the Finnish adult population, while comparing the perceptions of road-traffic noise to exhausts as environmental health problems. Using a questionnaire that yielded responses from 1112 randomly selected adult Finnish respondents, we estimated road-traffic noise- and exhausts-related perceived exposures, health-risk perceptions, and self-reported annoyance on five-point scales, while noise sensitivity estimates were based on four questions. Determinants of noise annoyance and sensitivity were investigated using multivariate binary logistic regression and linear regression models, respectively. High or extreme noise annoyance was reported by 17% of respondents. Noise sensitivity scores approximated a Gaussian distribution. Road-traffic noise and exhausts were, respectively, considered high or extreme population-health risks by 22% and 27% of respondents. Knowledge of health risks from traffic noise, OR: 2.04 (1.09–3.82) and noise sensitivity, OR: 1.07 (1.00–1.14) were positively associated with annoyance. Knowledge of health risks (p < 0.045) and positive environmental attitudes (p < 000) were associated with higher noise sensitivity. Age and sex were associated with annoyance and sensitivity only in bivariate models. A considerable proportion of Finnish adults are highly annoyed by road-traffic noise, and perceive it to be a significant health risk, almost comparable to traffic exhausts. There is no distinct noise-sensitive population subgroup. Knowledge of health risks of road-traffic noise, and attitudinal variables are associated with noise annoyance and sensitivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures)
Open AccessArticle City Dweller Responses to Multiple Stressors Intruding into Their Homes: Noise, Light, Odour, and Vibration
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(3), 3246-3263; doi:10.3390/ijerph120303246
Received: 18 August 2014 / Revised: 17 February 2015 / Accepted: 3 March 2015 / Published: 18 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1119 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban densification increases exposure to noise, light, odour, and vibration in urban dwellings. Exposure from combined environmental stressors intruding into the home could increase the risk of adverse effects on wellbeing, even when the exposure is at a relatively low level. This [...] Read more.
Urban densification increases exposure to noise, light, odour, and vibration in urban dwellings. Exposure from combined environmental stressors intruding into the home could increase the risk of adverse effects on wellbeing, even when the exposure is at a relatively low level. This study assesses the prevalence of annoyance with a combination of potential environmental stressors common in urban areas and the association with wellbeing. A questionnaire was sent by mail to residents in five areas in Halmstad (Sweden) with similar socioeconomic and housing characteristics but different exposure (response rate 56%; n = 385). Of the respondents, 50% were annoyed to some degree by at least one of the suggested stressors, most commonly by noise and vibration from local traffic. Structural equation modelling showed that annoyance led to lowered quality of life via the mediating construct residential satisfaction, which in turn was influenced by place attachment and perceived restoration possibilities in the dwelling. Stress had a negative impact on quality of life, but was not directly correlated to annoyance. Stress was however correlated with sensitivity. The findings suggest that dose-response relationships for environmental stressors should be studied in a broader context of environmental and individual factors. Also relatively low levels of exposure should be mitigated, especially if several stressors are present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures)
Open AccessArticle Annoyance, Sleep and Concentration Problems due to Combined Traffic Noise and the Benefit of Quiet Side
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1612-1628; doi:10.3390/ijerph120201612
Received: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 23 January 2015 / Published: 29 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (754 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: Access to a quiet side in one’s dwelling is thought to compensate for higher noise levels at the most exposed façade. It has also been indicated that noise from combined traffic sources causes more noise annoyance than equal average levels [...] Read more.
Background: Access to a quiet side in one’s dwelling is thought to compensate for higher noise levels at the most exposed façade. It has also been indicated that noise from combined traffic sources causes more noise annoyance than equal average levels from either road traffic or railway noise separately. Methods: 2612 persons in Malmö, Sweden, answered to a residential environment survey including questions on outdoor environment, noise sensitivity, noise annoyance, sleep quality and concentration problems. Road traffic and railway noise was modeled using Geographic Information System. Results: Access to a quiet side, i.e., at least one window facing yard, water or green space, was associated with reduced risk of annoyance OR (95%CI) 0.47 (0.38–0.59), and concentration problems 0.76 (0.61–0.95). Bedroom window facing the same environment was associated to reduced risk of reporting of poor sleep quality 0.78 (0.64–1.00). Railway noise was associated with reduced risk of annoyance below 55 dB(A) but not at higher levels of exposure. Conclusions: Having a window facing a yard, water or green space was associated to a substantially reduced risk of noise annoyance and concentration problems. If this window was the bedroom window, sleeping problems were less likely. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures)
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