Skip to content

Imperial College to study health impacts of Heathrow

21st December, 2009

The catchily named ‘Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Imperial College London’ is planning to study the health impacts of Heathrow.  An item on their web site says:

“Heathrow is the world’s busiest international airport, operates the country’s busiest bus/coach station and manages rail connections into London. Continuous urban development has resulted in Heathrow today being an integral part of West London, thereby affecting local air quality along with other sources of pollution such as road traffic. The local population is therefore exposed to a considerable amount of pollution coming from noise and aircraft exhaust emissions and from airport associated road traffic.

Past Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) have been carried out historically for all submitted planning applications for airport expansion or construction. They have identified several health impacts possibly related to exposure to airport noise and air pollution and a number of air pollutants have been found to have an effect on cardiovascular as well as respiratory health. Noise exposure has also been linked with cardiovascular disease.

Several studies have investigated the relationship between noise exposure and blood pressure, including the EU-funded HYENA study (2002-2006), which mainly assessed the impact of exposure to noise on blood pressure. See the HYENA website for recently-published papers reporting the main findings.

We will now study health effects in the vicinity of Heathrow airport associated with air pollution and noise using SAHSU data on mortality, cancer incidence and hospital admissions.”