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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?

9 comments

I have my windows closed --as it keeps the road noise out also and I have my air set to recirculate -- except if I am country driving then I allow some fresh air in through the ventilation system  (unless on a dusty road)  I use my A/C all year

And to think a lot of the cyclists are doing it for their health.

Also walkers and runners as well Suze

Yes Plan B

More people should read this research and see just how much pollution motor vehicles and planes cause

Air pollution has dropped to unprecedented levels across the world as major cities and countries impose lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

India Gate war memorial in New Delhi

A combo shows the India Gate war memorial on October 17, 2019 and after air pollution level started to drop during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India, April 8, 2020.

The top picture shows the India Gate war memorial on October 17, 2019, months before the nationwide lockdown. The bottom picture shows the memorial after air pollution levels began to drop during the lockdown in New Delhi on April 8.

 

I'm doomed! I always drive with "recirculate" closed to ensure I receive "clean" fresh air on my face to keep me awake. Only use air-conditioner if necessary to keep cool or warm as appropriate. Windows are usually closed so I can hear the radio and/or ensure the a/con's efficiency when it's running. Rarely use the sun-roof in suitably mild conditions.

Depends on where and when. In slow moving traffic I keep the windows closed to stop the exhaust fumes from other cars to get into my vehicle. Would also use resurculate option. Why get bad air from outside through AC when you keep the windows closed to keep it out.

I use WD40, WINDOWS DOWN AT 40 K.P.H.

Never use recirculate - always fresh and a lot better than the toxic fumes off the interior materials .

Especially after the car sitting in the heat and these fumes building up inside!

We all know traffic pullution is bad, but have you ever noticed how many childcare centres are built on busy roads. Worst still, some are built at crossroads where there are traffic lights. The stop start of cars and trucks cause terrible fumes and brake pollution. I complained to my council once and asked why this was allowed to happen, they said that that was where the owners wanted them. I suppose for the exposure. Well the babies are exposed all right. Set up for sickness in later years.
And that was the end of it. 

REcirculate for longer than 10 minutes is just as dangerous as having so called dirty outside air coming into the car, it causes drowsiness and can multiply toxic and other fumes and some of your own exhaust fumes accumilating inside.

Check for yourself and see. drowsiness is a bigger killer.

I only use recirculate if vehicles in front are blowing smoke, if there is a dirt road and dust or bush fire smoke, after 10 minutes or less open to the out side air for a while, you will be alot safer.

9 comments