Journal of Environmental and Public Health / 2016 / Article / Tab 5

Review Article

Airborne Infectious Agents and Other Pollutants in Automobiles for Domestic Use: Potential Health Impacts and Approaches to Risk Mitigation

Table 5

Approaches to reducing health risks from pollutants inside family cars.


Opening windows for fresh airOccupant-controlled action with immediate impact on air qualityNoise and increased exposure to road dust & insects
Regular vacuuming and general cleanup of the car interiorA generic means for reducing the accumulation of dust, infectious agents, and allergens on upholstery, carpets, and other surfacesSuch cleaning is often quite infrequent or may be cursory when carried out; it also cannot address the issue of ongoing entry of airborne pollutants from external sources; further, it can reaerosolize settled pathogens for aerial spread/deposition on clean surfaces
Maintenance of air-conditioning & heating systemsReduction in accumulation of dust as well as build-up of biofilmsNot within the resources or skill sets of most car owners
Prophylactic vaccinationThe use of safe & effective vaccines, including those against seasonal influenza, can offer protectionThe number of safe and effective vaccines remains limited; certain types of vaccines offer only transient protection and also may not cover “new” pathogens or those with changing antigenic profiles
Installation of a safe and cost-effective air decontamination deviceThe use of a validated technology may reduce exposure to a variety of airborne pollutantsIf such a device is not maintained properly, it could in itself become a sources of airborne pollutants

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