How to avoid pollution when you're in traffic jams - The360 Healthy

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  • Friday, January 3, 2020

    How to avoid pollution when you're in traffic jams

    How to avoid pollution when you're in traffic jams

    When you spend several hours a day on busy roads, especially in hot, sunny weather, you may be concerned about the effect of pollution on your health. A few good gestures and a cabin filter can remove a large part of the polluting particles.

    Most non-electric motor vehicles emit multiple air pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons and ultrafine chemical particles. Inhalation of these pollutants can cause or contribute to a wide range of health problems, from heart and lung disease to dysfunctions of the neurological, reproductive and immune systems.

    Studies have repeatedly shown that people living near busy roads are exposed to high health risks, recalls the Time website. Young children, the elderly and people with lung disease are particularly vulnerable to pollution. But anyone who can spend a lot of time driving in traffic jams, especially in hot, sunny weather, is at risk.

    Filters and air conditioning

    Rolling up closed windows can help block some of this harmful air, thanks to air conditioning. But there is one particularly useful device for reducing pollutants inside the vehicle: the cabin filter. Usually located behind the glove compartment, it purifies the air breathed by passengers. Make sure you have an activated carbon cabin filter suitable for your car. It is able to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels by 75% and hydrocarbon levels by 50%.

    Once in place, the filter should be replaced every six months to a year, depending on the frequency of driving. Activating the air recirculation function of the air conditioning system can also be useful. According to some research cited by Time, it would reduce the levels of polluting particles in the passenger compartment by up to 90%.

    Be careful though: it’s important not to “recirculate” the air all the time, as this may increase the level of carbon dioxide which can cause drowsiness, headache and nausea. If you are stuck in traffic for more than 15 minutes, turn off the recirculation feature for a minute or two so that the CO2 can dissipate, and then turn it back on.

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