Home > Lifestyle > Environmental Health > Green tips Updated 11 September 2014 Why drivers inhale more pollutants Should drivers be the ones wearing the gas masks? Olivia Rose-Innes is Health24’s EnviroHealth Editor. Read more of her columns and articles or post a question to her expert forum. 0 Shutterstock ~ Related Protect against polluted city soil Be a road warrior Start A Health24 blog » Follow Health24 on Facebook » Test Are you envirohealth savvy? » Ask EnviroHealth Expert » Blood Lions: Bred for the Bullet movie trailer The amazing mountains on Pluto Don't fool yourself that being inside a car protects you from air pollution and its multiple ill effects. Recent monitoring conducted by air quality researchers at King's College London and the UK's Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) provides further evidence that "in-car" pollution can be many times higher than exposures for pedestrians and cyclists travelling the same busy route. The BBC reports that British members of parliament on the EAC were fitted with air pollution monitors to test London levels for themselves. Travelling by taxi in rush hour traffic through central London, on a hot day with the windows open, the MPs' monitors recorded pollution levels six times higher than those recorded when walking.A car in city traffic takes in pollution from the exhaust of vehicles in front of it, which then tends to get trapped inside; pollutants are diluted somewhat for pedestrians and cyclists, who have benefit of better airflow. Pollution levels also tend to be highest at the centre of a road, and lower at the verges.In-car air quality is further reduced by the plastic interior off-gassing toxic compounds (that "new car smell"), as well as cigarette-smoking by passengers.Read: How does pollution affect people who exercise outdoors?Tips to lower your pollution exposureWhatever your mode of transport, these tips will help reduce your exposure to urban pollutants:Avoid rush hour: bumper-to-bumper traffic produces the worst carbon emissions and the worst pollutant exposures.Avoid routes with busy traffic: discover some of the quieter, and often prettier, alternative routes. Pedestrians and cyclists can considerably reduce their pollution exposure by using walkways and cycle lanes, and cutting across parks and squares instead of using pavements directly adjacent to traffic.Setting your car ventilation to “recirculate” helps reduce exposure to air pollution. Driving with the windows open raises in-vehicle pollutant concentrations (and adds drag on the vehicle at higher speeds), but keeping windows closed for over half an hour with several passengers raises carbon dioxide levels inside (from exhaling). To prevent this CO2 buildup, outside air should be pulled in every 10-15 minutes for 1-2 minutes.The air is generally cleaner after a rainstorm or a blustery day.If walking and cycling's not for you, consider public transport: pollution levels are lower in buses than in cars, and even less in trains. (Underground railways tend to trap pollutants however).Read more:Keep your car coolDetox your garage Car-pooling makes a comebackReferences:BBC (September 2014). UK air pollution fuels official concern Image of car exhaust: Shutterstock - Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor NEXT ON HEALTH24X FDA bans e-cig liquid products that look like snacks and candies 2018-09-12 19:00 More: Environmental HealthGreen tips advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Live healthier Heart health » 5 women share exactly what it feels like to have a heart attack 'I felt like I had a pill stuck in my throat.' Diet & Nutrition » 8 benefits of gherkin juice that will make you want to drink some ASAP Goodbye, salt craving.