Long-Term Exposure to Road Traffic Noise and Incidence of Diabetes in the Danish Nurse Cohort

Jeanette Therming Jørgensen, Elvira Vaclavik Bräuner, Claus Backalarz, Jens Elgaard Laursen, Torben Holm Pedersen, Steen Solvang Jensen, Matthias Ketzel, Ole Hertel, Søren Nyman Lophaven, Mette Kildevæld Simonsen, Zorana Jovanovic Andersen

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Evidence on the association between road traffic noise and diabetes risk is sparse and inconsistent with respect to how confounding by air pollution was treated. Objectives: In this study, we aimed to examine whether long-term exposure to road traffic noise over 25 years is associated with incidence of diabetes, independent of air pollution. Methods: A total of 28,731 female nurses from the Danish Nurse cohort (>44 years old at recruitment in 1993 or 1999) were linked to the Danish National Diabetes Register with information on incidence of diabetes from 1995 until 2013. The annual mean weighted levels of 24-h average road traffic noise (L den) at nurses’ residences from 1970 until 2013 were estimated with the Nord 2000 method and annual mean levels of particulate matter (PM) with diameter <2.5 and 10 nm (PM 2.5 and PM 10), nitrogen dioxide (NO 2), and nitrogen oxide (NO x) with the Danish AirGIS modeling system. Co x proportional hazards regression models were used to examine the association between residential LdenLden in four different exposure windows (1-, 5-, 10-, and 25-years) and the incidence of diabetes, adjusted for lifestyle factors and air pollutants. Results: Of 23,762 nurses free of diabetes at the cohort baseline, 1,158 developed diabetes during a mean follow-up of 15.2 years. We found weak positive associations between 5-y mean exposure to LdenLden (per 10 dB increase) and diabetes incidence in a crude model [hazard ratio (HR): 1.07; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.99, 1.12], which attenuated in a model adjusted for lifestyle factors (HR:1.04; 95% CI: 0.97, 1.12), and reached unity after additional adjustment for PM 2.5 (HR: 0.99; 0.91, 1.08). In analyses by level of urbanization, we found a positive association between noise and diabetes in urban areas (HR:1.27; 95% CI: 0.98, 1.63) that was unchanged after adjusting for PM 2.5 (HR: 1.25; 95% CI: 0.97, 1.62), but we found no apparent association in provincial (HR: 1.02; 95% CI: 0.88, 1.18) or rural areas (HR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.87, 1.08). Conclusion: In the nationwide cohort of Danish nurses 44 years of age and older, we found no association between long-term exposure to road traffic noise and diabetes incidence after adjustment for PM 2.5 but found suggestive evidence of an association limited to urban areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number057006
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)57006
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


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