, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 649-666,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 26 Jul 2013

Cardiovascular health, traffic-related air pollution and noise: are associations mutually confounded? A systematic review

Abstract

Objectives

This review assessed the confounding effect of one traffic-related exposure (noise or air pollutants) on the association between the other exposure and cardiovascular outcomes.

Methods

A systematic review was conducted with the databases Medline and Embase. The confounding effects in studies were assessed by using change in the estimate with a 10 % cutoff point. The influence on the change in the estimate of the quality of the studies, the exposure assessment methods and the correlation between road noise and air pollutions were also assessed.

Results

Nine publications were identified. For most studies, the specified confounders produced changes in estimates <10 %. The correlation between noise and pollutants, the quality of the study and of the exposure assessment do not seem to influence the confounding effects.

Conclusions

Results from this review suggest that confounding of cardiovascular effects by noise or air pollutants is low, though with further improvements in exposure assessment, the situation may change. More studies using pollution indicators specific to road traffic are needed to properly assess if noise and air pollution are subjected to confounding.

This article is part of the special issue: “Environment and Health Reviews”.