Your Lungs And You – 1
By Dr PK Singhal*
Your car cabin may have a mix of more than 100 chemicals such as poisonous benzene or formaldehyde
One of the commonly held notions about cars among a cross-section of people transcending geographical and political boundaries, ethnicity, race and colour, is that once you’re inside your car, you do not need to worry about air pollution. Because that air pollution is now “outside” and cannot reach you inside, ensconced as you are in complete comfort and cosiness.
This notion, however widely held it may be, the facts and figures do not support it.
In fact, on the contrary, recent studies point out that the pollution level inside the vehicle is much higher than what it is outdoors, and therefore, you may be exposed to dangerous pollutants. Please note that your car cabin may have a mix of more than 100 chemicals such as poisonous benzene or formaldehyde.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are among the main indoor air pollutants that lead to a range of health problems. And VOCs in your car cabin are present in the car foam in the seats, carpets, dashboard, or glue used in the car to keep the things in place. Over the course of a long drive, your car’s cabin can accumulate levels of particulate matter and gases that are very unhealthy to breathe. And if you drive a lot, as many commuters do, there is every chance that your respiratory system is getting exposed to substantial pollution.
The car cabin, it must be noted, is like a box with small holes for gas exchange. According to studies, vehicles annually contribute about 290 gigagrams (Gg) of PM2.5. At the same time, around eight per cent of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in India are from the transport sector, and in Delhi, for example, it exceeds 30 per cent.
One of the most serious consequences of this exposure is the damage it does to your lungs in the long term. Once your lungs get affected, you are going to bear the associated health challenges throughout your life, and of course, it often proves fatal.
So, what’s the solution?
Considering that pollution inside an automotive cabin can prove to be a major health hazard, you need a system that minimizes these pollutants and helps you drive your vehicle in an ambience that does not damage your body and health.
There are many air purification systems for automobiles available in the market but one needs to be careful about selecting systems that qualify the medical grade. It is always recommended to go for the best options available in the market and to install them in your vehicles to stay away from health worries that emanate from polluted air and other particles inside your car.
(Your Lungs And You series is an awareness campaign run by an NGO, The Eminent, in collaboration with PetriMed CA, an air purification system with 99.999% filtration and coupled with UV-C disinfectation and air ioniser, using 8 – stage filtration technology).