As more awareness is put toward investigating the sources of toxins within the environment, it becomes surprisingly apparent that there is exposure in more places than would ever be considered otherwise. One startling example is in the source of that all too familiar “new car smell” that so many look forward to as part and parcel of the initiation of owning a brand new car.
It is almost a right of passage, or a badge of honor. Unfortunately, it has been recently discovered that the source of this aroma that fulfills so many emotional “highs” is associated with the toxic chemical soup permeating the interior of new cars at levels that pose a danger to the health of their occupants. It has been known for some time that the headliners of older vehicles contained asbestos, as do drums and brake pads, and some areas within the transmission. Exposure to asbestos has been proven to cause mesothelioma, a form of cancer that is potentially deadly, and this is a situation that has been systematically approached with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) providing guidelines for years.
Informal studies in the U.S. have produced a list of other chemicals associated with the interior air quality of new vehicles, prompting a response from around the globe in a best approach to determining just how toxic this chemical soup really is. Aside from the obvious toxins, such as carbon monoxide from exhaust and benzene from the air conditioning, scientists have reported over fifty volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that have been identified from a variety of sources.
A Partial List of VOC Sources:
• Cleaning and Lubricating Compounds
• Latex Glue
• Leather and Vinyl Treatments
• Gasoline (and resulting fumes from exhaust)
From these compounds, this is just a partial list of the chemicals found:
• Acetone – a mucosal irritant
• Xylene isomers – fetal development toxins
• Ethylbenzene – systemic toxin
• Toluene – causes central nervous system dysfunction
• Asbestos – carcinogen
• Cyclohexanone – carcinogen
• Styrene – carcinogen
• N-hexane - neurotoxin
Tests have revealed that these chemicals have been linked to neurological impairment, birth defects, premature puberty in lab test animals, liver toxicity, and other serious health problems.
While this is startling information, it has prompted further analytical testing to determine ways in which these chemicals can be mitigated. In the immediate, the good news is that these chemicals begin to decay exponentially as soon as the vehicles leave the assembly line, but only at about 20% per week, reaching an acceptable level after about six months time.
Clearly, there are air purifiers that can be purchased and have proven to help filter out measurable volumes. Running the A.C. with the windows open prior to entering the vehicle will help to dissipate the blast of benzene. It is certainly an issue to remain tuned in to for future conclusions and alternatives.
This post has been submitted by Brian, who vey kindly offered to have it posted! Thank you very much Brian for your great post!