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Development of the WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: An Introduction  

Author:  | Europe, Health, Noise

Abstract: Following the Parma Declaration on Environment and Health adopted at the Fifth Ministerial Conference (2010), the Ministers and representatives of Member States in the WHO European Region requested theWorld Health Organization (WHO) to develop updated guidelines on environmental noise, and called upon all stakeholders to reduce children’s exposure to noise, including that from personal electronic devices. The WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region will provide evidence-based policy guidance to Member States on protecting human health from noise originating from transportation (road traffic, railway and aircraft), wind turbine noise, and leisure noise in settings where people spend the majority of their time. Compared to previous WHO guidelines on noise, the most significant developments include: consideration of new evidence associating environmental noise exposure with health outcomes, such as annoyance, cardiovascular effects, obesity and metabolic effects (such as diabetes), cognitive impairment, sleep disturbance, hearing impairment and tinnitus, adverse birth outcomes, quality of life, mental health, and wellbeing; inclusion of new noise sources to reflect the current noise environment; and the use of a standardized framework (grading of recommendations, assessment, development, and evaluations: GRADE) to assess evidence and develop recommendations. The recommendations in the guidelines are underpinned by systematic reviews of evidence on several health outcomes related to environmental noise as well as evidence on interventions to reduce noise exposure and/or health outcomes. The overall body of evidence is published in this Special Issue.

… Seven systematic reviews of evidence were commissioned by WHO to assess the relationship between environmental noise and the following health outcomes: (1) annoyance; (2) cardiovascular and metabolic effects; (3) cognitive impairment; (4) effects on sleep; (5) hearing impairment and tinnitus; (6) adverse birth outcomes; and (7) quality of life, mental health, and wellbeing. An eighth systematic review was commissioned to assess the effectiveness of environmental noise interventions in reducing exposure and associated impacts on health. The reviews separately assess the environmental noise coming from the following sources, for each relevant health outcome: road traffic, railway, aircraft, wind turbines, and leisure.

Dorota Jarosińska, Marie-Ève Héroux, Poonum Wilkhu, James Creswick, Jördis Wothge, and Elizabet Paunović, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe, European Centre for Environment and Health, Bonn, Germany
Jos Verbeek, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Cochrane Work, Kuopio

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2018, 15, 813
doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040813

Download original document: “Development of the WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: An Introduction

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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