Fri, May 06, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Allergy doctor warns over dust build-up in taxicabs

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taxicab passengers tend to be more concerned about the smell of smoke and betel nuts than dust mites, a recent survey conducted by Taiwan Taxi found.

The survey was one of the first in the country to examine what people think of the air quality in vehicles, an allergy doctor said, adding that the issue deserved more attention because people spend more time commuting nowadays.

The survey found that although 90 percent of the 806 respondents paid attention to the air quality in automobiles, only 30 percent were aware that invisible dust particles can cause poor air quality.

A majority of the respondents said they thought cigarette smoke, odors from betel nuts, mildew and food were the leading contributors to unclean air in taxi cabs.

Lin Yung-zen, a member of the Taiwan Association of Asthma Education and a well-known asthma doctor, said he often comes across patients who say they begin sneezing and coughing as soon as they get into automobiles.

“The best way to keep the air clean in vehicles is to get rid of stuffed animals, which are the best hiding place for dust mites and allergens that could trigger allergic reactions,” he said.

Car owners should also minimize decorations, such as carpets, and should set a regular cleaning schedule to avoid a build-up of dirt, he said.

Chou Shih-jui, a Taiwan Taxi representative, urged drivers to change their air filters every 5,000km to 10,000km to prevent excessive dust from entering the car through the ventilation system.

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