There are reported cases of serious motor accidents caused by people with hayfever sneezing while driving.
There are reported cases of serious motor accidents caused by people with hayfever sneezing while driving.

Lack of filters gets up the nose of asthma council

CUP holders are more important than respiratory health to car manufacturers, the National Asthma Council Australia has claimed.

The health organisation has taken aim at Australian car makers for not making cabin air filters standard in all vehicles - and for failing to highlight what filtration various models have.

Following a review of the top eight models of Australian-made cars sold in June 2013, only Toyota vehicles have cabin air filters fitted as standard.

Many may shrug their shoulders at the claims, but National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson and allergist, clinical associate professor Sheryl van Nunen, said there are reported cases of serious motor accidents caused by people with hayfever sneezing while driving.

"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," she said.

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

Holden and Ford only provide particulate filters as an option in their Australian-made models, and generally do not have an option at all for activated charcoal filters.

Properly fitted and serviced particulate filters should trap dust, pollens, fungus spores and possibly some pet allergens, while activated charcoal filters are intended to filter toxic, unpleasant and smelly gases, which can also trigger asthma symptoms.

A Holden spokeswoman said: "We're have particulate filters available on a number of models within our product range, whether locally manufactured or imported, for customers who want this option on their vehicle and we're confident in the performance of these filters."

The asthma council said with more than one third of the population prone to allergic responses, it is surprising how hard it is for car-buyers to find out if the car they are considering even has cabin air filters, let alone their effectiveness.


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