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Another reason to skirt traffic: health risks associated with noise pollution

trafficMapping out a 4th of July weekend adventure, I’m scheduling my drive down the I-5 by counting backward from arrival in time for a 10:30 a.m. yoga class. And, like many Californians, while planning my life around yoga I’m also thinking about alternate driving routes and factoring in time for road congestion. With tomorrow’s commute front-of-mind, I was interested to read about a recent report on the unhealthy effects of noise pollution from traffic – something I hadn’t considered. (But yoga seems like a good return to center following a sympathetic nervous system-stimulating drive.)

Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have recommended strategies to improve urban environments in ways that reduce traffic noise and stress-related health effects such as stroke and heart disease that may be linked with it, according to a release.

More from the release:

Last fall, [Tor Kihlman, PhD,] and [Wolfgang Kropp, PhD,] initiated a meeting between international experts from the automotive industry, universities and government agencies in Innsbruck to discuss technical possibilities to achieve better urban environments.

“Many of the needed measures are ideal for implementation in dense cities. They are often in line with what is required to tackle climate change. Here are double benefits to point to,” says Tor Kihlman, mentioning three examples: the procurement of quiet public transport, reduced speed, and the usage of buildings as as effective noise barriers, through good urban planning.

The new report describes the first steps needed, politically, for society to move towards substantially reduced health effects caused by traffic noise.

Previously: Study shows link between traffic noise, heart attackCan commuting by car or public transit negatively impact your health? and The hazards of sitting in traffic
Photo by Samantha Bilodeau

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