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New and Old Environmental Impacts on Population Well Being

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Acoustics and Vibrations".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020) | Viewed by 72730

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
C-TAC, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minho, 4704-553 Braga, Portugal
Interests: LFN; urban pollution; urban noise; urban air pollution
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The current accelerated urbanization process has been accompanied by a number of environmental and social problems arising from consumption patterns and lifestyle, such as emissions of greenhouse gases, waste and wastewater and environmental noise. Discussing urban planning requires rethinking the sustainability of cities and building healthy environments. Historically, some aspects of advancing the urban way of living have not been considered important in city planning. This is particularly the case where technological advances have led to land-use conflicts, such as the location of power poles, electrical substations and industrial plants near residential areas. Low frequency noise is part of the everyday acoustic environment. The use of equipment such as heating, cooling or ventilation systems, energy production for self-consumption and road traffic, particularly heavy vehicles, are important sources of noise. Low frequency noise can spread a very far distance with a low attenuation in the open air and pass through walls and windows with low attenuation.

Complaints received by municipalities and national authorities prove this and demand a new legal framework. These phenomena, which particularly affect urban areas, are often difficult to characterize, predict and mitigate, as they are related to the subjective annoyance of the inhabitants.

At the international level, there are a large number of studies on health impacts due to occupational and environmental exposure to noise. However, there are still few studies focusing exclusively on health impacts and discomfort due to low-frequency noise. One of the main reasons is the low sensitivity of the human auditory system to low frequencies. On the other hand, this type of noise has very particular characteristics and causes much more discomfort and long-term non-auditory effects. This is a very interesting and innovative topic for research. 

This Special Issue will be devoted to these “new” and “old” environmental impacts, aiming to collect original research related to the effect of environmental noise and low-frequency noise, regarding policy adjustments, health and annoyance indicators, measurement techniques, evaluation methodologies and mitigation measures and strategies.

Topics of interest (among others) include:

  •    Methods for assessing the impact/discomfort of low-frequency noise  
  •    Health impacts due to low-frequency noise
  •    Sources of low-frequency noise in urban areas
  •    Sound exposure to outdoor events in urban areas
  •    Impacts of noise on active mode users (walking and cycling)
  •    Methods and practices to mitigate environmental and low-frequency noise

Dr. Lígia Torres Silva
Dr. Cecília Rocha
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Low-frequency noise
  • Audiometry
  • Outdoor events
  • Land-use conflicts
  • Environmental noise

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 3450 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Noise Emitted by Vehicles on Pedestrian Crossing Decision-Making: A Study in a Virtual Environment
by Francisco Soares, Emanuel Silva, Frederico Pereira, Carlos Silva, Emanuel Sousa and Elisabete Freitas
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 2913; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10082913 - 23 Apr 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3710
Abstract
When crossing a road, pedestrians must detect traffic, combine data coming from different perceptual modalities, evaluate the time envelope for safely cross the street, and monitor the position of oncoming vehicles to perform corrective actions if needed. This study analyzed the influence of [...] Read more.
When crossing a road, pedestrians must detect traffic, combine data coming from different perceptual modalities, evaluate the time envelope for safely cross the street, and monitor the position of oncoming vehicles to perform corrective actions if needed. This study analyzed the influence of noise emitted by vehicles, or its absence, on pedestrians’ crossing decision-making. Experiments were performed in a virtual environment using two road scenarios. Participants were presented with stimuli of approaching vehicles that varied regarding speed, movement patterns, and auditory condition: one concerning the approaching of an electric vehicle, another regarding the approaching of a gasoline combustion vehicle, and, finally, a condition regarding the absence of auditory cues. Participants were tasked with indicating the moment when they decided to cross the street. The results show that, despite the noise variations caused by the type of vehicle and its speed pattern, the participants’ decision to cross was mostly based on vehicle distance. When a vehicle approaches the crosswalk from a short distance and with no occlusion to the pedestrian’s visibility, the sound does not seem to influence the pedestrians’ crossing decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New and Old Environmental Impacts on Population Well Being)
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20 pages, 21758 KiB  
Article
How Can Low-Frequency Noise Exposure Interact with the Well-Being of a Population? Some Results from a Portuguese Municipality
by Juliana Araújo Alves, Lígia Torres Silva and Paula Remoaldo
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(24), 5566; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9245566 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3852
Abstract
Noise pollution is the second most harmful environmental stressor in Europe. Portugal is the fourth European country most affected by noise pollution, whereby 23.0% of the population is affected. This article aims to analyze the effects of exposure to low frequency noise pollution, [...] Read more.
Noise pollution is the second most harmful environmental stressor in Europe. Portugal is the fourth European country most affected by noise pollution, whereby 23.0% of the population is affected. This article aims to analyze the effects of exposure to low frequency noise pollution, emitted by power poles and power lines, on the population’s well-being, based on a study of “exposed” and “unexposed” individuals in two predominantly urban areas in north-western Portugal. To develop the research, we used sound level (n = 62) and sound recording measurements, as well as adapted audiometric test performance (n = 14) and surveys conducted with the resident population (n = 200). The sound levels were measured (frequency range between 10 to 160 Hz) and compared with a criterion curve developed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The sound recorded was performed 5 m away from the source (400 kV power pole). Surveys were carried out with the “exposed” and “unexposed” populations, and adapted audiometric tests were performed to complement the analysis and to determine the threshold of audibility of “exposed” and “unexposed” volunteers. The “exposed” area has higher sound levels and, consequently, more problems with well-being and health than the “unexposed” population. The audiometric tests also revealed that the “exposed” population appears to be less sensitive to low frequencies than the “unexposed” population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New and Old Environmental Impacts on Population Well Being)
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21 pages, 1861 KiB  
Article
Empirical Evidences for Urban Influences on Public Health in Hamburg
by Malte von Szombathely, Benjamin Bechtel, Bernd Lemke, Jürgen Oßenbrügge, Thomas Pohl and Maike Pott
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(11), 2303; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9112303 - 4 Jun 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3868
Abstract
From the current perspectives of urban health and environmental justice research, health is the result of a combination of individual, social and environmental factors. Yet, there are only few attempts to determine their joint influence on health and well-being. Grounded in debates surrounding [...] Read more.
From the current perspectives of urban health and environmental justice research, health is the result of a combination of individual, social and environmental factors. Yet, there are only few attempts to determine their joint influence on health and well-being. Grounded in debates surrounding conceptual models and based on a data set compiled for the city of Hamburg, this paper aims to provide insights into the most important variables influencing urban health. Theoretically, we are primarily referring to the conceptual model of health-related urban well-being (UrbWellth), which systemizes urban influences in four sectors. The systematization of the conceptual model is empirically confirmed by a principal component analysis: the factors derived from the data correspond well with the deductively derived model. Additionally, a multiple linear regression analysis was used to identify the most important variables influencing the participant’s self-rated health (SRH): rating of one’s social network, rating of neighborhood air quality, rating of neighborhood health infrastructure, heat stress (day/outdoors), cold stress (night/indoors). When controlling for age, income and smoking behavior, these variables explain 12% of the variance of SRH. Thus, these results support the concept of UrbWellth empirically. Finally, the study design helped to identify hotspots with negative impact on SRH within the research areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New and Old Environmental Impacts on Population Well Being)
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Review

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39 pages, 1044 KiB  
Review
Low-Frequency Noise and Its Main Effects on Human Health—A Review of the Literature between 2016 and 2019
by Juliana Araújo Alves, Filipa Neto Paiva, Lígia Torres Silva and Paula Remoaldo
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(15), 5205; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10155205 - 28 Jul 2020
Cited by 58 | Viewed by 53067
Abstract
This paper summarizes the presently available knowledge about the association between low-frequency noise and its effects on health. A database was constructed with a total of 142 articles published between 2016 and 2019 regarding low-frequency noise exposure and its effects on health. A [...] Read more.
This paper summarizes the presently available knowledge about the association between low-frequency noise and its effects on health. A database was constructed with a total of 142 articles published between 2016 and 2019 regarding low-frequency noise exposure and its effects on health. A total of 39 articles were analysed in depth. The articles were divided into categories according to the effects on human health addressed. Regarding the emitting source, there was a greater number of articles addressing issues related to sources of environmental noise and noise from wind turbines. As for the effects generated on human health, there was a greater number of articles referring to the effects on sleep disorders, discomfort, sensitivity to and irritability from noise, annoyance, hearing loss, and cardiovascular diseases, and these effects are analysed in more detail in the present article. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New and Old Environmental Impacts on Population Well Being)
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26 pages, 1576 KiB  
Review
Noise Sources and Control, and Exposure Groups in Chemical Manufacturing Plants
by Oscar Rikhotso, Johannes Leon Harmse and Jacobus Christoffel Engelbrecht
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(17), 3523; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9173523 - 27 Aug 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 7493
Abstract
The chemical manufacturing industry employs sophisticated mechanical equipment to process feedstock such as natural gas by transforming it to usable raw material in downstream sectors. Workers employed at these facilities are exposed to inherent occupational health hazards, including occupational noise. An online and [...] Read more.
The chemical manufacturing industry employs sophisticated mechanical equipment to process feedstock such as natural gas by transforming it to usable raw material in downstream sectors. Workers employed at these facilities are exposed to inherent occupational health hazards, including occupational noise. An online and grey literature search on ScienceDirect, Oxford Journals online, PubMed, Medline, Jstor and regulatory bodies using specific keywords on noise emission sources in the manufacturing sector was conducted. This review focuses on noise sources and their control in chemical manufacturing plants along with the receptors of the emitted noise, providing hearing conservation programme stakeholders valuable information for better programme management. Literature confirms that chemical manufacturing plants operate noise emitting equipment which exposes job categories such as machine operators, process operators and maintenance personnel amongst others. Prominent noise sources in chemicals manufacturing industries include compressors, pumps, motors, fans, turbines, vents, steam leaks and control valves. Specific industries within the chemical manufacturing sector emit noise levels ranging between 85–115 dBA (A-weighted sound pressure level), which exceed the noise rating limit of 85 dBA used in South Africa and United Kingdom, as well as the 90 dBA permissible exposure level used in the United States, levels above which workplace control is required. Engineering noise control solutions for plant equipment and machinery operated in chemical manufacturing plants are available on the market for implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New and Old Environmental Impacts on Population Well Being)
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