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The benefits of having an air purifier in your car

The benefits of having an air purifier in your car

As mentioned in our article on air quality and different forms of pollution, studies have found indoor air to be 5 to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air.

This finding remains true for the air in the vehicle interior since studies¹ (carried out by ASEF) have also shown that the ambient air is 4 times more polluted than air outside on the street. In fact, it has been shown that outdoor air pollution enters the vehicle interior and simply adds to the pollution already present in the car, such as pollution from the interior coatings or generated by passengers (fumes, sprays, etc.).

What are the sources of pollution in a car?

There are several sources of indoor air pollution in our cars.

The city of Paris Hygiene Laboratory¹ identified a variety of chemicals that come directly from the interior coatings in cars.

What does that mean? You probably know that new car smell. It tells us about the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are mainly emitted by chemicals which are used in the manufacture of seats, armrests, varnishes, paints, glues, floor coverings, etc. The study found, in particular, the presence of formalin (formaldehyde), one of the most polluting gases that is classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (but this risk applies to high exposure).

Despite fairly strict regulations for vehicle manufacturers², the same laboratory even found that 41% of the vehicles studied exceed the safety target value for VOCs. Regarding formaldehyde itself, it exceeded the authorised level (which is 10 μg/m3) in 23% of cases. This study also revealed the presence of moulds and microscopic fungi.

As mentioned above, pollution of the outside air can also enter the vehicle interior. Various studies³ have highlighted the high exposure of motorists to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particles, a type of pollution mainly produced by road traffic. Airparif, the air quality monitoring association of the Ile-de-France department of France, showed in 2009 that the concentration of fine particles to which the average motorist was exposed was higher than that experienced by a cyclist performing the same route in the Paris region. This is due to the location of the vehicle's air intakes: they are located at the same level of the exhaust pipe of the car in front of you.

Other indoor air pollutants include tobacco smoke, which, like inside our home, contains thousands of particles, many of which are toxic. Even though the particles seem to disappear when you smoke with the windows open, they do stay in the vehicle and are then re-emitted from the vehicle interior surfaces for days and even weeks.

Everyone is familiar with car air fresheners that are supposed to give off a pleasant smell in the interior of the vehicle. We find them in many forms: there are the famous cardboard tree, sprays, or even diffusers.

But beware! In addition to the fact that these deodorants themselves release potentially toxic airborne particles (again VOCs), their pleasant odour simply masks bad smells and does not eliminate them. This is why regular cleaning of your car is essential to help you eliminate lingering bad odours4.

What are the risks? 

When inhaled regularly, fine particles as well as irritating gases can cause more or less serious risks depending on the person.

This is because VOCs can irritate the throat and eyes, and they can even cause headaches or dizziness. That's not all: these can, in the long term, cause respiratory illnesses and even asthma for the most sensitive among us.

In addition, we also find carcinogenic substances in the vehicle interior. Among them, one of the most dangerous for humans is formaldehyde, a colourless, suffocating, and flammable gas classified as a proven carcinogen since 2004. Present in the coatings of our cars, it can have serious consequences on a daily basis. It is worth noting that since 2009, nasopharyngeal cancer has been recognized as an occupational disease (preparation of formalin, use in certain laboratories, varnishing of floors, etc.).

We must also not forget the pollution of the outside air which infiltrates into the vehicle and which can cause problems for the motorist: eye or respiratory irritation, asthma attacks, or respiratory problems. Finally, the inflammatory effect of fine particles, which often occurs during peak air pollution, can cause irritation, coughing, or even headaches5.

An air purifier designed specifically for the car

According to ASEF, even if most vehicles today are equipped with a cabin filter, it does not protect us effectively against various pollutants, especially during periods of extreme heat or if the system ventilation unit is continuously on. In addition, it only works on pollution coming from the outside (therefore not on VOCs) and must be changed regularly to continue to be effective. 

In response to this problem, in summer 2020, AIRVIA Medical launched the AIRVIA CAR© model, which uses the same filtration technologies for which our products have become so well known, in a compact and elegant format, perfectly suited to the car.

AIRVIA CAR© is effective against the carcinogenic substances mentioned above such as fine particles, cigarette smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or even various atmospheric pollutants ("smog" type). It is also effective against allergens, mould, and stubborn odours.

With its 3 air inlets and 2 integrated air outlets, the purifier purifies the air in your vehicle's cabin in just a few minutes. We recommend placing it at the rear of the car so that it renews the air from the rear to the front in a circular fashion. It is equipped with a fastening system allowing it to be placed in a secure and protective manner without disturbing the passengers of the vehicle.

This air purifier for your car comes with a multi-layer filter providing very advanced filtration. Consisting of a pre-filter, a bamboo fibre filter (soaked in Lysozyme), a HEPA H13 filter, an activated carbon filter, as well as a feature to diffuse negative ions, our purifier is capable of capturing 99.97% of particles with a diameter greater than or equal to 0.01 µm. It will allow you to breathe clean and healthy air during your journeys.

 

Its integrated screen displays real-time data such as fine particle pollution rate, temperature and humidity. Thanks to the automatic mode, the AIRVIA CAR© air purifier reacts directly to the air quality by automatically increasing or decreasing its speed, and it knows how to put itself in standby mode when the air is sufficiently purified. A mobile application (iOS and Android) allows you to adjust all of this at your fingertips and to consult the pollution data.

 

Sources:

  1. Atmo Sud - La pollution à l’intérieur des véhicules. Source.
  2. SGS Group, Analyses chimiques et qualité de l'air aux laboratoires SGS Cestas et Etupes. Source.
  3. LeFigaro.fr Santé : L'air intérieur des voitures surchargé en polluants. Source.
  4. Lamecaniquepourlesfilles.com : Comment se protéger de la pollution à l'intérieur de la voiture ? Source.
  5. PlaneteSante.ch : Particules fines : les risques à court et long terme. Source.