Changing this simple car setting could reduce cancer risk
Drivers and passengers can inhale significantly lower levels of air pollution by setting their vehicle's ventilation systems more effectively and taking a 'cleaner' route to their destination, a new study has revealed.
Road transport emissions are major source of urban air pollution - nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) coming from vehicle exhausts, plus non-exhaust emissions such as brake dust, tyre wear and road dust.
Outdoor air pollution is estimated to contribute to seven million deaths globally - linked to diseases ranging from lung cancer to stroke and respiratory infection.
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have found that - if vehicle ventilation is set correctly - drivers and passengers are exposed to up to 49 per cent less PM2.5 and 34 per cent less Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) than the on-road levels.
Lead author Dr Vasileios Matthaios, from the University of Birmingham, commented: "Exposure to air pollution within the vehicle depends upon both the ventilation setting and the type of route. The lowest exposure to particles and gases is when the windows are closed with recirculation and air conditioning switched on.
"Drivers and passengers inhale more air pollution when traveling on urban roads, followed by ring-roads and suburban roads. However, because concentrations inside a vehicle are lower and occupants are not as active, they inhale less air pollution than people cycling or walking on the same routes."
Are you worried about air pollution? Do you drive with your windows open or closed? Do you use recirculated air while driving?