In-car pollution equivalent to passively smoking

In-car pollution equivalent to passively smoking
Spending an hour stuck in traffic could be just as bad for your health as passive smoking, according to expert warnings.

The levels of air pollution drivers experience while stuck in traffic jams is 140% worse than it is for pedestrians outside — and is equivalent to passively smoking a couple of cigarettes.

And yet despite these disturbing figures, a new study suggests a worrying nine out of 10 drivers remain unaware of the dangers of in-car pollution.

RAC Breakdown Cover

RAC Breakdown Cover

With our cover, the difference is in your pocket.

*£7 a month for new, single vehicle Basic. ^For 1 vehicle with new Extra or Complete. Excludes Basic. Ends 28/05/24, 7am.

RAC Breakdown Cover

READ MORE: Clean Air Zones — what are they and where are they?

The study was performed by clean air tech company Airlabs, who manufacture an in-car air purifier called airbubbl which claims to remove all dangerous air pollutants from the car cabin. Their findings reveal that 60% of people incorrectly think pollution levels are at their most dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists on busy roads.

More than a quarter of those surveyed actively avoid places with high levels of air pollution, and yet 25% are unaware that they could be exposed to toxic fumes inside their cars.

And despite over half of people being concerned about the long-term effects of air pollution on their health, a disappointing 40% don’t believe that they can do anything about it.

Marc Ottolini, CEO of Airlabs, said the survey shows that most people are unaware of just how polluted the air they’re breathing inside their vehicles actually is.

He said: "Levels can be several times higher in vehicles than outside. This is because harmful gases from exhausts can pass straight through car air filters and accumulate inside a car, posing a significant health risk.

"In fact, for the average car commuter who sits in traffic for just one hour each day, exposure to air pollution inside their vehicle is the equivalent to passively smoking 180 cigarettes each year.

"We all understand the risks of smoking and passive smoking, but a lot of people don't realise that just being in a vehicle can be highly damaging to your health too."

SEE ALSO: Should you use your air-con in the winter?

Air pollution is linked to around 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year and can lead to complications such as heart and lung disease, asthma, and child development issues.

In a bid to tackle air pollution, the Government has announced the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned in the UK from 2040, although some MPs are calling for the ban to be brought forward to 2032.

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

Did you know, you can get fined for moving out of the way of an ambulance?

Want more useful content like this sent straight to your inbox?