Valuing Quiet: An economic assessment of US environmental noise as a cardiovascular health hazard
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Valuing Quiet: An economic assessment of US environmental noise as a cardiovascular health hazard

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  • Alternative Title:
    Am J Prev Med
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    Environmental noise pollution increases the risk for hearing loss, stress, sleep disruption, annoyance, cardiovascular disease, and has other adverse health impacts. Recent (2013) estimates suggest that over 100 million Americans are exposed to unhealthy levels of noise. Given the pervasive nature and significant health effects of environmental noise pollution, the corresponding economic impacts may be significant.


    This 2014 economic assessment developed a new approach to estimate the impact of environmental noise on the prevalence and cost of key components of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in the US. By placing environmental noise in context with comparable environmental pollutants, this approach can inform public health law, planning and policy. The effects of hypothetical national-scale changes in environmental noise levels on the prevalence and corresponding costs of hypertension and coronary heart disease are estimated, with the caveat that the national-level US noise data our exposure estimates were derived from are >30 years old.


    The analyses suggest that a 5 dB noise reduction scenario would reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 1.4% and coronary heart disease by 1.8%. The annual economic benefit is estimated at $3.9 billion.


    These findings suggest significant economic impacts from environmental noise-related cardiovascular disease. Given these initial findings, noise may deserve increased priority and research as an environmental health hazard.

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