Noise destroys health more than air pollution

Heart attacks, stress, reduced immune defences… A report from l’Ademe, the French Ecological Transition Agency, shows the impressive damage to health caused by noise, particularly from cars and two-wheelers. Damage totally ignored by the authorities.

Is our society finally taking the measure of the real damage caused by ambient noise? Launched on September 20 by the Ras le scoot association, a petition to limit noise pollution from two wheels had more than 20,000 signatures [1] the day after it was put online despite a total lack of media coverage. This enthusiasm reveals an exasperation as well as a concern: long seen as a factor affecting the quality of life, noise is now a matter of public health.

A report by the National Noise Council and the Ecological Transition Agency (Ademe), published in July this year, shows this. According to this document, which unfortunately went almost unnoticed in the torpor of summer, the “social cost of noise” in France is 155.7 billion euros annually. An astronomical sum, greater than the cost of air pollution: more than 100 billion euros, according to a Senate report from 2015. Also greater than the cost of tobacco: 120 billion euros per year.

These are the first lines of a French article you can find here (and Google Translate further for yourself if you are interested). This article is mainly about road traffic, but you can verify that these effects apply at least as strongly to people who experience noise nuisance from air traffic…