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In-Car Air Quality is Often Poor
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Sat, 17 Jun 2006, 18:05

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News USA Contaminants in roadside air can become concentrated inside cars when windows are closed. Cabin air filters help clean incoming air.

(NUI) - Air quality inside cars on most roads is worse than the outside air, according to recent studies. Contaminants common in roadside air, such as pollen, dust, diesel soot and smog, were found to be two to six times more concentrated inside vehicles.

That's because the heating, air conditioning and vent system that draws air into cars has the effect of concentrating contaminants inside the passenger cabin when windows are closed. Contaminants, blown into a car's closed passenger cabin, build up because there are few avenues for escape.

To combat the problem, a growing number of cars now have cabin air filters that work by trapping many contaminating particles before they enter the car.

"Americans have always been concerned about their comfort and health. Now there is a way for people to breathe cleaner air while driving," says Mel Abshier, manager of marketing services for Champion Laboratories, manufacturer of Kleener cabin air filters.

Until recently, the filters were only available in the United States on imported luxury cars. Already in widespread use in Europe, many industry experts believe that by 2001, most cars sold in the United States will include cabin air filters.

Roadside contaminants are often microscopic in size. Many cabin air filters trap 99.5 percent of the airborne contaminants that trigger allergic reactions, and about 90 percent of particles down to 2 microns in diameter. (A dot made with a sharp pencil, for example, measures about 200 microns.)

Like any filter, cabin air filters must be changed regularly to maintain performance. Abshier suggests car owners follow the change interval recommended by the auto or filter manufacturer.

Cabin air filters are standard on the 1995 and 1996 Ford Contour/Mercury Mystiques and the 1996 Ford Taurus/Mercury Sables and Lincoln Continentals.

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