A new study is showing that the air inside cars is up to 100% more polluted than on the road outside.
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This is due to the direct flow of exhausts from the own car and other vehicles on the road, the off-gassing of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from materials used in the car interior, as well as the relatively small volume of enclosed space inside the passenger compartment. In-car air pollution therefore poses greater risks to human health than outdoor air pollution.
Last year, US scientists found that levels of soot and chemicals inside cars were twice as high as those measured by roadside detectors. These findings are supported by other studies.
People spend, on average, about 10 hours a week inside vehicles where exposure to PM2.5, the ultrafine particles harmful to human health, can be up to two times higher than on the street outside. Particles from tyres and road wear products in combination with exhaust emissions from the own vehicle as well as from other vehicles, can enter the cabin through ventilation and air-conditioning systems. A few months ago, scientists at London Metropolitan University revealed that car air-conditioning systems can function as breeding grounds for bacteria.
Given the many hours spent on the road, a staggering 72% of consumers are worried about the impact the air circulating inside their cars may have on themselves and their families. The same number, 72% of people asked, also said that they are aware of the negative health effects of breathing polluted air.
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