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Summary of ongoing activities on environmental noise and health at the WHO regional office for europe


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Abstract

The environmental noise is an important public health issue, according to recent assessment of the burden of diseases among environmental health risk factors in order of importance the environmental noise occupies the second place after air pollution. The World Health Organization (WHO) for the first time published its public health recommendations for the environmental noise in 1999 in the “WHO Guidelines for Community Noise (1999)”. These recommendations found their development in WHO Night Noise Guidelines for Europe” (2009). From then onward there have been published new important data on the impact of the environmental noise on the health, that stipulated the revision of existing guidelines. Furthermore, both in the European Union (EU) Directive 2002/49/ EC and the Parma Declaration from 2010 there was pointed out the importance of renewal environmental noise recommendations. Responding to appearing interrogation, WHO Regional Office for Europe has recently initiated the process of the elaboration of new guiding principles known as “WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region”. The Guidelines will include a systematic review of most critical or important health consequences and also concentrate on health benefits of measures for the reducing noise levels. The Guidelines will consider noise coming from various noise sources such as aircraft, rail, road, personal electronic devices and wind turbines. The Guidelines will also consider the particularity of such accommodations as residences, hospitals, and educational facilities. The work in the mentioned spheres is ongoing and the revised Guidelines are expected to be published in mid-2015. The Guidelines will provide up-to-date information on the health risks related to the environmental noise and evidence-based recommendations in order to support for WHO Member States in their efforts to prevent of the excessive noise and the struggle with their negative impact.


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