Long-term exposure to road traffic noise and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a Danish Nurse Cohort study

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BACKGROUND: Long-term road traffic noise exposure is linked to cardio-metabolic disease morbidity, whereas evidence on mortality remains limited.

OBJECTIVES: We investigated association of long-term exposure to road traffic noise with all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

METHODS: We linked 22,858 females from the Danish Nurse Cohort (DNC), recruited into the Danish Register of Causes of Death up to 2014. Road traffic noise levels since 1970 were modelled by Nord2000 as the annual mean of a weighted 24 h average (Lden). Cox regression models examined the associations between Lden (5-year and 23-year means) and all-cause and cause-specific mortalities, adjusting for lifestyle and exposure to PM2.5 (particulate matter with diameter < 2.5 μm) and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide).

RESULTS: During follow-up (mean 17.4 years), 3902 nurses died: 1622 from cancer, 922 from CVDs (289 from stroke), 338 from respiratory diseases (186 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 114 from lower respiratory tract infections [ALRIs]), 156 from dementia, 95 from psychiatric disorders, and 79 from diabetes. Hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for all-cause mortality from fully-adjusted models were 1.06 (1.01, 1.11) and 1.09 (1.03, 1.15) per 10 dB of 5-year and 23-year mean Lden, respectively, which attenuated slightly in our main model (fully-adjusted plus PM2.5: 1.04 [1.00, 1.10]; 1.08 [1.02, 1.13]). Main model estimates suggested the strongest associations between 5-year mean Lden and diabetes (1.14: 0.81, 1.61), ALRIs (1.13: 0.84, 1.54), dementia (1.12: 0.90, 1.38), and stroke (1.10: 0.91, 1.31), whereas associations with 23-year mean Lden were suggested for respiratory diseases (1.15: 0.95, 1.39), psychiatric disorders (1.11: 0.78, 1.59), and all cancers (1.08: 0.99, 1.17).

DISCUSSION: Among the female nurses from the DNC, we observed that long-term exposure to road traffic noise led to premature mortality, independently of air pollution, and its adverse effects may extend well beyond those on the cardio-metabolic system to include respiratory diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153057
JournalThe Science of the Total Environment
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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