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Projet Tri-national Trafic, Air, Bruit et Santé,-TRI-TABS.

Institut for Social and Preventive Medicine at Suiss Tropical Institut Basel
Funded by
Air and noise pollution are the two most frequent types of environmental pollution affecting millions of people throughout Europe on a regular basis. Vehicular traffic is the primary intraurban source of both types of exposure. Recent studies indicate that traffic-related noise may contribute to the increase of hypertension cases, a highly prevalent pathology that requires long-term treatments and increases cardiovascular morbidity. In addition, research performed in animals and certain epidemiological studies indicate that traffic-related air pollution may cause atherosclerosis, a pathology that is interrelated with hypertension and the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Europe.

So far, the majority of studies have focused on one or the other type of exposure. However, the results obtained in these studies might be confounded given that the analysis does not take into account both environmental factors at the same time. For this reason, research should focus on the joint study of exposure to both environmental factors in order to differentiate the particular effects that each one has on health.

The project will use a common, short-duration protocol in the cities of Grenoble, Basel and Girona to measure noise, the number of air particles and traffic density at 40 locations in each city. Noise measurements will be compared with values found in existing noise maps and air pollution measurements will be contrasted with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) spatial maps, a frequently used indicator of traffic-related air pollution.

The importance of traffic density, roads where there are buildings, including urban land use will be studied, as they determine measured and modelled levels of air and noise pollution. In the cities of Basel and Girona, estimations of the levels of noise exposure will be assigned to over 3,000 participants of the existing cohorts (SAPALDIA-Basilea and REGICOR-Girona), the health care data of which are known, with the aim of analysing the association between noise and blood pressure levels and incidence of hypertension cases. The analyses will be adjusted for individually assigned levels of exposure to traffic-related air pollution. In Grenoble, results will be used to plan and design a new epidemiological study on air pollution and reproductive health, which will be able to differentiate the effects of air pollution from those of noise pollution.

This study is the first to simultaneously address the issue of noise and air pollution in France, Switzerland and Spain. The highly anticipated results are extremely important given that intervention policies to reduce noise and air pollution may differ considerably.


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