Children at risk from 'back-seat fumes': claim
The prospect that travelling in the back seat of a car may be more dangerous for your child's health than walking or cycling to school in urban traffic has been raised by a leading expert.
But does his startling claim overlook one obvious point? Former British government chief scientific adviser Prof Sir David King, who now advises the UK's Lung Foundation, claims exposure to toxic air can often be much higher inside, rather than outside, a car.
He claims that children sitting in the back seat are likely to be exposed to what he calls dangerous levels of air pollution.
Writing in The Guardian, he says: "You may be driving a cleaner vehicle but your children are sitting in a box collecting toxic gases from all the vehicles around you." He claims that walking or cycling to school would be much better for children's health.
And he asks why families are still "happy" for their children to breathe in "toxic emissions" in the back of cars. The only thing I think he is overlooking - and it could undermine much of his argument - is the fact that most cars now have extensive air filters in their ventilation and air conditioning systems that work for front and rear passengers.
They are claimed to significantly reduce the intrusion of gases and fumes. Against that, it is reported that experiments have shown those inside vehicles can be exposed to far higher levels of air pollution than if they were walking or cycling the same urban routes. The new claims are bound to spark debate and fuel anti-car lobbies' demands.
But what do you think?