National Asthma Council Australia Calls For Car Makers To Improve Cabin Air Quality Photo:

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Kez Casey | Aug, 10 2015 | 4 Comments

A review of seven of Australia’s best selling cars has led the National Asthma Council Australia to call for improved air quality inside vehicles, to reduce the risk of in-car asthma attacks.

More than just a health and wellbeing issue, the implications of a severe asthma attack behind the wheel could represent a significant safety issue to road users.

Pollen, exhaust gasses, and other airborne pollutants have been identified as asthma triggers. Moves to improve cabin air quality inside cars could significantly improve the general health of those suffering from the respiratory condition.

Of the seven top selling passenger cars for the first six months of 2015, the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Toyota Hilux, Hyundai i30, and Ford Ranger all feature standard particulate (or pollen) filters.

Of that list, only the Hyundai i30 also includes an activated carbon filter, designed to filter gasses out of incoming cabin air.

2015 Hyundai i30 - with particulate and activated carbon filters
2015 Hyundai i30 - with particulate and activated carbon filters

Neither the Mitsubishi Triton, nor the Holden Commodore feature standard cabin filtration, although a particulate filter is available as an option for the Commodore.

The National Asthma Council Australia points to reported cases of serious motor accidents, caused by sneezing hay fever sufferers, as just one reason to improve cabin air quality.

“In Spring, in particular, asthma attacks may be triggered by pollen allergens that could be reduced in a car by having effective filters in place,” spokesperson and allergist, Clinical Associate Professor Sheryl van Nunen

“Allergy symptoms of congested sinuses, runny and itchy noses, and itchy eyes can also be a distraction to drivers and both asthma and hay fever cause fatigue, adding to the difficulties sufferers face when travelling.”

A previous review in 2013 yielded similar results, with none of the seven top-selling models having added added cabin filtration since then.

The review also points out that no car company mentions cabin filtration in its brochures when fitted, making relevant information more difficult for consumers.

Over two million (or one in ten) Australians are affected by asthma, one of the highest rates in the world.

The National Asthma Council Australia recommends asthma sufferers create an asthma action plan, in consultation with their GP, to help manage their symptoms, as well as sticking to recommended treatments, including the prescribed use of preventative medications.

Filed under Safety News interior air health
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