Living close to an airport can be dangerous and health-threatening, a research has shown.

Researchers, led by Marta Rojek of Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland, resented a research result at the EuroPRevent 2016 meeting that showed high health risk in living close to where aircraft take off and land.

Rojek and her team investigated aircraft noise and its effect on hypertension and asymptomatic organ damage.

The team used 201 adults aged between 40 years and 66 years for the research. All of the research subjects lived in a region with either low or high aircraft noise for three years.

Of this group, 101 regularly experienced aircraft sounds of 60 decibels or more, while the other 100 lived in an area experiencing sounds of 55 decibels or less – this was the control group.

The subjects were all paired by age, gender, and the amount of time they had lived in the areas.

Their blood pressure was measured, as was the stiffness of their aorta and the mass and function of the heart’s left ventricle (one of the heart’s four chambers).

Results showed that those living nearest to airports, and enduring the highest air traffic noises were worse off than those who stayed further away.

Individuals living in an area where there was greater air traffic noise experienced increased hypertension, when compared with those who lived in quieter areas – 40 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively.

The high-noise group had higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure than the control group (89 compared with 79 mm Hg).

Similarly, when the researchers looked for signs of organ damage, they found that those living with higher levels of aircraft noise had stiffer aortas and bigger ventricular mass.

Urbanisation has been identified as one of the causative factors for people to build close to airports as demand for land increases.

Population increase and the need for modern transportation have also resulted in the development of more airports in urban areas though the development contravenes internationally accepted regulations.

In 2013, aircraft took off and landed in airports across the world 64 million times, a 1.2 per cent increase when compared to 2012, reports the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which believes that the figure would double in the next two decades.

With more flights being recorded every day, people are generally exposed to noise levels beyond the threshold levels which could later on impair hearing and also cause elevated blood pressure.


Author: Dotun Obatuyi

My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.