Everybody loves that “new car smell.” A fresh out of the factory smell is often desired so much that artificial sprays and air fresheners are manufactured specifically to simulate the distinctive smell, long after the car is ‘fresh out of the factory.’
New Car Smell Concoction of Over 275 Chemicals
While the smell is often desired, an obvious detail is often overlooked. The unique odor is the product of a chemical manufacturing process that uses a host of dangerous toxic fumes. According to recent research, this seemingly harmless enticement is actually the indicator of a health risk largely unrecognized.
Researchers tested 200 of the most popular cars in 2011 for chemicals that ‘off-gas’ from any interior car parts such as seats or the dashboard. They found that more than 275 chemicals reside in the cars, with some of them being flame retardants.
According to Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center, toxic chemicals used in manufacturing car interiors are numerous, and due to their prominence, produce a level of toxic air contamination within cars.
“Research shows that vehicle interiors contain a unique cocktail of hundreds of toxic chemicals that off-gas in small, confined spaces,” said Gearhart “Since these chemicals are not regulated, consumers have no way of knowing the dangers they face. Our testing is intended to expose those dangers and encourage manufacturers to use safer alternatives.”
Some of the chemicals include bromine, chlorine and lead. These alone are known to contribute to a number of health risks, but these chemicals in tandem with high temperatures cause the chemicals to fume and affect your health more strongly. This is especially true when cars are parked in hot areas or direct sunlight.
The chemicals used in car interiors are essentially volatile, and can very easily affect your health even long after the smell has dissipated. Individual steps are not necessarily easily reached due to the nature of car manufacture, but reports such as these should compel and obligate car manufacturers to reconsider their use of these chemicals to prevent health risks to buyers.