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Killer Offices?

Bosses can be bad for your health, but is your office a potential killer, too? Researchers in Europe recently found a link between workplace noise and heart attacks, identifying a threshold of some 60 decibels — about the volume of a typical busy office. A loud workplace can raise the risk of heart attack for men by nearly a third, the study found. There was no increased risk for women.

Worse still, ambient city noises alone, like commuter traffic or air conditioners, may also boost the risk for both sexes — three-fold for women and up to 50% for men, according to the study.

Lead researcher Dr. Stefan Willich said noise combined with “smoking or pressure from meeting deadlines” deepen stress and anger, leading to physiological changes in the body. Current allowable levels of workplace noise, about 85 decibels, is equivalent to a construction site, Willich said.

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