Allergies are becoming a growing health risk in Europe. This is not aided by increasing exposure to an aggressive invader, common ragweed. This plant's flowering season extends from July through to October, meaning that many allergy sufferers and asthmatics will continue to suffer symptoms far into the autumn. Being able to breathe freely, however, is particularly important when driving and enhances road safety. Cabin filters from MANN-FILTER offer the right protection. They prevent ragweed and other pollen, dust and particulate matter from entering the interior of the vehicle.
At the wheel, sneezing fits, streaming eyes or even asthma attacks are not only unpleasant but dangerous. Increasingly, these reactions are being caused by the growth of “Ambrosia artemisiifolia“ or common ragweed, which is displacing other, local plant species and spreading at an alarming rate. The plant, which is native to North America, grows on the side of roads, on building sites, railway embankments and in gardens and can reach heights of up to 1.8 metres. It was and is brought in through contaminated seed and bird food. Climate change is also favouring its proliferation. Researchers estimate that the area covered by the highly allergenic common ragweed in Southern Europe is continuing to expand towards the north and north-east.
This invasive plant poses a real problem for allergy sufferers
According to scientists, one in four people in Germany suffer from a pollen allergy, with twelve percent of the population reacting allergically to common ragweed. Every single one of these unprepossessing plants represents a considerable health risk because a large specimen can release up to a billion tiny grains of pollen, and the wind can carry them for several kilometres. For those affected, the situation is exacerbated by the fact that ragweed pollen is significantly more potent than the pollen of local grasses and trees. Per cubic metre of air, only six to ten pollen grains are sufficient to trigger allergic symptoms in sensitive persons. For grass pollen, the concentration in air would have to be approximately five times as high.
The Deutsche Allergie- und Asthmabund (German Allergy and Asthma Association) recommends that in addition to timely medical treatment and immunotherapy, people who are allergic to pollen should avoid contact with allergens as much as possible. This also applies when driving in a car. "That is why we advise those allergic to pollen to ensure that they install suitable pollen filters in their own car. It is also important to change the filter regularly, i.e. once a year", says Anja Schwalfenberg from the German Allergy and Asthma Association.
Protection against pollen and particulate matter in the car interior
Cabin filters from MANN-FILTER effectively protect against contact with ragweed and other pollen. They offer near 100% protection against the tiny pollen grains, some of which have a diameter of only 18 micrometres, penetrating into the interior of the car.
When the ventilation system of a vehicle draws in contaminated outside air, it not only draws in pollen but also dust and other particulate matter. These can penetrate deep into the airways. Thoroughly purifying this breathing air is therefore also essential in order to protect the health of frequent drivers and child passengers. The high-quality MANN-FILTER cabin filters are optimally suited to this task. Particle filters separate harmful particles such as dust, rust and pollen almost completely upwards of a diameter of only 1.0 micrometre. By way of comparison: these particles are up to 70 times finer than the thickness of a human hair. Combined filters with an activated carbon layer further adsorb unpleasant odours and harmful gases such as nitrogen oxides and ozone.
FreciousPlus: Barrier against allergens and bacteria
Additional protection is now offered with the new cabin filter type, FreciousPlus from MANN-FILTER, which features a biofunctional and antimicrobial coating. It utilises the effects of polyphenol, which is also contained in green tea for example. FreciousPlus captures allergens that can be released from pollen and prevents the growth of bacteria and mould fungi.
MANN-FILTER offers more than 550 different types of cabin filter and thus covers more than 99 percent of the European passenger car and commercial van fleet. To remind customers to change their filters every 15,000 kilometres or to install an effective retrofit, awareness work needs to be done by the trade and in workshops.
The MANN+HUMMEL Group is a leading global expert for filtration solutions and development partner and original equipment supplier to the international automotive and mechanical engineering industries. Employing 16,000 people at more than 60 locations worldwide, the company achieved turnover of about 2.8 billion euros in 2014. The group’s product portfolio includes air filter systems, intake manifold systems, liquid filter systems, cabin filters and technical plastic parts, as well as filter elements for vehicle servicing and repair. For general engineering, process engineering and industrial manufacturing sectors the company’s product range includes industrial filters, a series of products to reduce carbon emission levels in diesel engines, membrane filters for water filtration and filter systems. Further information about MANN+HUMMEL can be found under www.mann-hummel.com.