Exposures to road traffic, noise, and air pollution as risk factors for type 2 diabetes: A feasibility study in Bulgaria

Noise Health. May-Jun 2016;18(82):133-42. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.181996.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a growing public health problem in Bulgaria. While individual and lifestyle determinants have been researched; till date there has been no study on environmental risks such as road traffic, noise, and air pollution. As a first step toward designing a large-scale population-based survey, we aimed at exploring the overall associations of prevalent T2DM with exposures to road traffic, noise, and air pollution. A total of 513 residents of Plovdiv city, Bulgaria were recruited. Individual data on self-reported doctor-diagnosed T2DM and confounding factors were linked to objective and self-rated exposure indicators. Logistic and log-link Poisson regressions were conducted. In the fully adjusted logistic models, T2DM was positively associated with exposures to L(den) 71-80 dB (odds ratio (OR) = 4.49, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.38, 14.68), fine particulate matter (PM) 2.5 25.0-66.8 μg/m 3 (OR = 1.32, 95% CI: 0.28, 6.24), benzo alpha pyrene 6.0-14.02 ng/m 3 (OR = 1.76, 95% CI: 0.52, 5.98) and high road traffic (OR = 1.40, 95% CI: 0.48, 4.07). L(den) remained a significant risk factor in the: Poisson regression model. Other covariates with consistently high multivariate effects were age, gender, body mass index, family history of T2DM, subjective sleep disturbance, and especially bedroom location. We concluded that residential noise exposure might be associated with elevated risk of prevalent T2DM. The inferences made by this research and the lessons learned from its limitations could guide the designing of a longitudinal epidemiological survey in Bulgaria.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Bulgaria
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise, Transportation / adverse effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors