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Long-term wind turbine noise exposure and incidence of myocardial infarction in the Danish nurse cohort

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BACKGROUND: Growing evidence supports the concept that traffic noise exposure leads to long-term health complications other than annoyance, including cardiovascular disease. Similar effects may be expected from wind turbine noise exposure, but evidence is sparse. Here, we examined the association between long-term exposure to wind turbine noise and incidence of myocardial infarction (MI).

METHODS: We used the Danish Nurse Cohort with 28,731 female nurses and obtained data on incidence of MI in the Danish National Patient and Causes of Death Registries until ultimo 2013. Wind turbine noise levels at residential addresses between 1982 and 2013 were estimated using the Nord2000 noise propagation model, as the annual means of a weighted 24-hour average (Lden) at the most exposed façade. Time-varying Cox proportional hazard regression was used to examine the association between the 11-, 5- and 1-year rolling means prior to MI diagnosis of wind turbine noise levels and MI incidence.

RESULTS: Of 23,994 nurses free of MI at cohort baseline, 686 developed MI by end of follow-up in 2013. At the cohort baseline (1993 or 1999), 10.4% nurses were exposed to wind turbine noise (≥1 turbine within a 6000-m radius of the residence) and 13.3% in 2013. Mean baseline residential noise levels among exposed nurses were 26.3 dB, higher in those who developed MI (26.6 dB) than among those who didn't develop MI (26.3 dB). We found no association between wind turbine noise and MI incidence: adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) comparing nurses with 11-years mean residential noise levels of <21.5 dB, 21.5-25.4 dB, 25.4-29.9 dB, and >29.9 dB, to non-exposed nurses were 0.89 (0.64-1.25), 1.20 (0.82-1.77), 1.38 (0.95-2.01), and 0.88 (0.53-1.28), respectively. Corresponding HR (95% CI) for the linear association between 11-year mean levels of wind turbine noise (per 10 dB increase) with MI incidence was 0.99 (0.77-1.28). Similar associations were observed when considering the 5- and 1-year running means, and with no evidence of dose-response.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this comprehensive cohort study lend little support to a causal association between outdoor long-term wind-turbine noise exposure and MI. However, there were only few cases in the highest exposure groups and our findings need reproduction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment International
Volume121
Issue numberPt 1
Pages (from-to)794-802
Number of pages9
ISSN0160-4120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

ID: 56059685