DÄ internationalArchive5/2009Health Consequences of Aircraft Noise: Noise Research is Hampered

Correspondence

Health Consequences of Aircraft Noise: Noise Research is Hampered

Dtsch Arztebl Int 2009; 106(5): 71. DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2009.0071a

Spreng, M

LNSLNS Kaltenbach et al are of the opinion that relations between external influences and negative effects—such as illness, sleeping disorders, and learning disorders—can be shown only by means of epidemiological studies. This statement is not true as it is exclusive and hampers research into the physiological effects of noise. Kaltenbach et al generalize; although the authors of all cited studies are cautious in interpreting their results, which rarely reach significance and are sometimes inconsistent. No critical discussion and evaluation of the cited studies has taken place.

The discussion on the effects of nocturnal noise does not reflect the current state of knowledge. The average noise levels that almost all epidemiological studies are based on are not equivalent in terms of effect. For a long time now, the most important organizations that are active in noise protection (BUND, the federal association against railway noise, the German National Organization Against Aircraft Noise, the German Working Group for Noise Abatement, and Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD, an association for sustainable mobility and a major German transport and environmental organisation) have been demanding that attention be paid to maximum noise levels and to how often these are reached. It is not true that the criticized synopsis uses awakening reactions—which Kaltenbach et al regard as of little relevance—as the basis for its evaluation; it uses the derived cortisol concentrations as a possible link to long term health impairments. The noise limits that the authors present in the subjunctive are not based on scientific criteria as per the literature. Noise can without question result in health impairments; as a possible ubiquitous stressor it should therefore be reduced. The intention of the synopsis is to make a contribution to this—based on causal connections that are justified by effects—but so does the aircraft noise law. DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2009.0071a


Prof. Dr. Manfred Spreng
Lange Zeile 121, 91054 Erlangen, Germany

Conflict of interest statement
The author acts as an expert and gives presentations for airport expansions, for those affected by railway noise, and for state measures.
1.
Kaltenbach M, Maschke C, Klinke R: Gesundheitliche Auswirkungen von Fluglärm. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105(31, 32): 548–56. VOLLTEXT
1. Kaltenbach M, Maschke C, Klinke R: Gesundheitliche Auswirkungen von Fluglärm. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105(31–32): 548–56. VOLLTEXT