Burden of Disease from Traffic Noise Quantification of Healthy Life Years Lost in Toronto, Canada
This paper explores how traffic noise in Toronto can lead to Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD), high levels of annoyance, and high levels of sleep disturbance. Local traffic noise data was combined with methods for predicting how daytime (Lden) and nighttime (Lnight) decibel levels impact years of life lost (DALYs) as a result of the heath outcomes. The methods were borrowed from European studies as there has yet to be any North American studies on this public health issue. The result for Toronto was a total of 28,380 annual DALYs, meaning this number of years of healthy life were lost as a result of traffic noise in Toronto causing IHD, high levels of annoyance, and high levels of sleep disturbance. A geographic information system (GIS) was used to spatially analyze the traffic noise and see where the high decibel levels were located as well as where concentrations of DALYs for each health outcome were located across Toronto at a dissemination area level. The goal of this paper is to highlight the importance of environmental noise pollution as a public health issue for Toronto and North America more generally, demonstrate how to calculate noise levels into a burden of disease metric, and provide spatial insights at a local scale to aid in addressing the health impacts of noise.