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Air filters can reduce acute health effects of diesel exhaust

Active charcoal filters fitted to cars and lorries may lessen the health hazards associated with exposure to diesel exhaust, finds research in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The World Health Organisation has designated particulate matter, of which diesel exhaust is ...
Active charcoal filters fitted to cars and lorries may lessen the health hazards associated with exposure to diesel exhaust, finds research in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The World Health Organisation has designated particulate matter, of which diesel exhaust is a major contributor, the most serious air pollutant in the world.

The experimental research exposed healthy non-smokers to 1 hour each of air, unfiltered diesel exhaust, and diesel exhaust filtered with four different air filters. Two filters were particle filters; the other two filters were combined with active charcoal filters. The levels of diesel exhaust were at the lower end of the scale of those found in a road tunnel over a period of 1 hour. Ear, nose, and throat and respiratory symptoms, headache, nausea and dizziness were among those symptoms assessed.

The two particle filters halved the levels of diesel exhaust, but did not reduce the intensity of symptoms associated with exposure. The combination charcoal
filters significantly reduced symptoms and discomfort caused by the exhaust, and one managed to eliminate the smell of the diesel by filtering out carbon compounds.

The popularity of diesel-powered vehicles on the road is likely to increase, said the authors, because diesel engines are durable, cheap to run, and efficient. The filters could realistically be fitted to cars and lorries, suggested the authors, when commenting on the implications of their research.
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