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Is new-car smell bad for your health?

  • Author:Silvia Lee
  • Source:http://www.chinatrucksupplier
  • Release on :2016-04-13

Is new-car smell bad for your health?

The scent of a new car can be enticing in showrooms, and even intoxicating in its appeal. There’s a good reason for that. That new car smell comes from an assortment of chemicals, some of which can be highly toxic.




The source of the bouquet so many buyers find appealing is in the various solvents, adhesives, plastics, rubbers and fabrics used in car construction. Many of these contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which can be deadly in sufficient quantities. Others are just bad for you.

“It’s a chemical cocktail made up of lots of toxins,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director of the Ecology Center in the US state of Michigan. The Ecology Center has been monitoring and testing chemical levels in car interiors for years, and has noted some improvement. But Gearhart says there is still work to be done.

“There are over 200 chemical compounds found in vehicles,” he said. “Since these chemicals are not regulated, consumers have no way of knowing the dangers they face.”

Just reading a list of the substances is scary enough, and makes your car’s interior sound like a hazmat hall of fame. Benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and heavy metals are all part of the mix. And the danger of exposure is scarier still. Immediate symptoms can range from a sore throat to headaches, dizziness, allergic reactions and nausea, depending on the sensitivity of an individual.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, continued exposure to some of these can lead to hormonal disruption, reproductive impacts and damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system — or even cancer. It’s that long-term exposure that experts find most worrisome.

“People spend over an hour a day in their vehicles on average,” said Gearhart. “Whether it’s adults, children, or pets, we’re concerned about prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals inside the vehicle.”

The danger is greatest when the car is new, and that new car smell is most noticeable. This is when components are still unstable and prone to what is called off-gassing — the release of chemical vapours, which leads to the odour. Heat from a vehicle left in the sun can make matters worse, and speed up the chemical reaction. The danger is reduced over time, and experts say the worst is usually over within about six months.

Experts advise the best thing that buyers can do to limit exposure is to keep car interiors well ventilated, especially during the first six months of ownership. Park in the shade with the windows open when it’s safe to do so, or at least try to air it out before getting inside — especially on hot days.

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-- Excerpts from China Daily.