Air pollution is deadly, according tomedia CNET. Haze and tiny exhaust particles can cause unspeakable health problems for those who have been exposed to them in large quantities or for a long time. The World Health Organization estimates that air pollution kills about 7 million people a year. A study published by the Global Centre for Clean Air Research at the University of Surrey in the UK highlighted the shocking figures. Commuters in 10 of the world’s poorest cities are exposed to high levels of in-car pollution, research shows. The researchers looked at the air in metropolitan areas such as Chennai, India, Cairo, Egypt, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Not surprisingly, driving with windows exposes drivers to the dirt of the air, although passengers are not immune to the dirty air. In tests, the researchers found that these drivers were exposed to high levels of pollution for as much as a third of their total driving time.
The researchers also measured the vehicle while the hVAC system was operating. Operating the fan when the windows are raised is certainly helpful, but using recycling mode can significantly reduce exposure to harmful particulate matter by about 80%. Of course, the cab air filter removes some of the contamination from the recirculated air.
The researchers noted that driving or travelling during off-peak hours can reduce window exposure by 91 percent in the morning and 40 percent in the evening. The use of air-conditioned vehicles will certainly also help limit exposure, as will switching to new, emissions-free electric vehicles and trucks. But for drivers in poor cities, neither option is economically viable.