Science/Medicine
5:09 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

"New-car smell" could be hazardous to your health

An environmental watchdog group has released a report about toxins found inside new cars. It says that “new-car smell” can be harmful to your health. 

The Ecology Center in Ann Arbor says the interiors of the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander, Chrysler 200 S and the Kia Soul had the highest level of hazardous chemicals.

The Honda Civic, Toyota Prius and Honda CRZ had the lowest level of chemical hazards.

Jeff Gearhart of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor says flame retardants and chemicals in plastics generate gases that can cause health problems.

"Acute allergies, so a person can't stand being in the vehicle, to long-term health impacts, such as birth defects, learning impairment, liver toxicity -- and some of these chemicals are carcinogens," Gearhart says.

He also says the toxins can adhere to dust, so vacuuming the interior of a car is helpful.

Gearhart says heat can increase the release of chemicals.

"We also recommend that people try to reduce the overall temperature of the vehicle by using a solar shade on the front window, and parking out of the sunlight as much as possible."

Gearhart says some of the toxins in new cars dissipate in the first six to eight months but other chemicals are released over the lifespan of the vehicle.

The full report is available at http://www.healthystuff.org/