Air Pollution - A Growing Risk To Our Health And Well Being ... Take A Small Step Toward A Healthier You

No matter how hard we try it’s impossible to completely protect ourselves from air pollution. Yet its net effect on our health can be significant. New research indicates it’s not just asthma and allergy sufferers that pay a heavy price for dirty air. Three new studies cited in a recent New York Times article show that air pollution is also a risk to our heart and brain health.

The  studies which appeared in The Archives of Internal Medicine and in The Journal of The American Medical Association, show that exposure to air pollution can accelerate memory loss, reduce attention span and increase chances of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

However, every small step you take to protect yourself against breathing in ‘dirty’ polluted air will take you that much closer to a healthier you.

Now if you or a family member suffers from asthma or allergies, it’s likely you use an air purifier at home. But, even though we typically spend 1-2 hours a day sitting in our cars in high pollution areas, we rarely think about making sure we breathe clean air while driving. At best, we roll up the windows and turn on the A/C or heater.

“Not many motorists are aware that there is a cabin air filter in their car – a relatively obscure device that performs the very important function of keeping the air inside clean when the windows are rolled up and the A/C or heater is turned on,” said Kevin O'Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications for MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters, supplier of BreatheEasy cabin air filters to the North American aftermarket. “The key is to make sure it’s not clogged because, if it is, it won’t be able to perform its function effectively,” O'Dowd said.

He explained that a cabin air filter is designed to protect you and your passengers from breathing in roadside air that enters the car through the vents and can be contaminated with all manner of pollutants ranging from dust and dirt to smells and odors.

“When your cabin air filter is clogged,” O'Dowd said, “it can blow all the dirt and dust that is lodged in it back into the driver and passenger compartment.”

Based on the findings in these studies, the New York Times article says, “Breathing in pollutants can cause harm in a number of ways…. They may cause inflammation linked to heart disease, increase the heart rate and thicken the blood, which can cause blood clots and accelerate atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.”

The article further states that, “The smallest particles of pollution, those finer than 2.5 microns in diameter – or about one-thirtieth the width of a human hair – are particularly effective at infiltrating the body…. There is some evidence that they can even penetrate the brain through the nasal passages … linking pollution to cognitive decline.”

Cabin air filters like Purolator’s BreatheEasy filters, feature specially engineered media designed to capture and hold even the finest particles of pollutants such as dust, soot, pollen, fungus and bacteria. A new Purolator cabin air filter can capture and hold particles as small as one micron in diameter. A micron is one millionth of a meter. By way of comparison, a strand of human hair measures 30-200 microns, a grain of salt is 40-100 microns, bacteria is 0.2-20 microns, pollen is 10-80 microns and soot is 0.02-0.7 microns.  BreatheEasy filters are electrostatically charged, similar to many household HVAC filters, to ensure that the particles stay attached to the filter.

Two kinds of BreatheEasy cabin filters are available for modern vehicles – the particulate cabin filter and the activated charcoal cabin filter. The activated charcoal cabin filter has the same particulate filtering capability as the standard BreatheEasy cabin air filter. But the advanced activated charcoal cabin air filter also adsorbs most toxic and foul-smelling gases such as ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrocarbons, keeping odors out of the car’s cabin. 

Purolator offers both particulate and activated charcoal cabin air filters for most vehicles so equipped. Either the particulate or activated charcoal BreatheEasy cabin air filter may be available depending on the make/model of your vehicle. Refer to your owner’s manual or visit the Application Guide on Purolator’s website at to see if your vehicle has a cabin air filter. It is generally located under the hood or behind the glove box or in the air box in the engine compartment.

According to O'Dowd, cabin air filters can be installed in anywhere from less than 10 minutes to about an hour, depending on the location. Purolator recommends changing it every 12,000 miles or per the vehicle’s manufacturer’s suggested intervals in the owner’s manual.

Purolator BreatheEasy cabin air filters come packaged with clearly illustrated vehicle-specific instructions that make installation simple for do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) or professional technicians.

Also available to everyone are the Purolator PROs, a team of experts who will answer any filter-related question, free of charge, via personal e-mail. The Purolator PROs can be contacted through

Eventually, every small step you take against air pollution will help improve your comfort and health and that of those you care about.

Purolator is a proud supporter of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association’s (AASA) Know Your Parts® education and awareness campaign. This initiative promotes the importance of quality brand name aftermarket parts backed by full service suppliers to preserve the industry’s good reputation. For more information, visit:

MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters manufactures and supplies high quality automotive and heavy duty filters to the North American aftermarket and original equipment manufacturers. Inventor of the automotive oil filter in 1923, Purolator has, since then, pioneered more than 40 'firsts' in the filtration industry. In fact, the first automotive oil filter was called a 'Purolator,' short for 'pure oil later.' Currently, the Purolator brand has more than 2,000 part numbers for automotive, light truck and heavy-duty applications. Purolator's advanced aftermarket filters include:

  • PureONE and Purolator Classic oil filters
  • Purolator Synthetic oil filters
  • PureONE and Purolator Classic air filters
  • BreatheEasy cabin air filters
  • PowerSports oil filters
  • The 'forgotten filters,' including transmission filters, fuel filters, breathers and PCV valves.

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