Why is this “new car smell” a serious health risk?

Some people like the smell of a new car. Family scents are associated with the joy of having a new and clean car. You can even buy an air freshener that simulates the smell of a new car. However, vapors in a new car cause serious illness in many people, and scientific research shows that the long-awaited smell of cars poses a serious health risk.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxic chemicals create the smell of a new vehicle. The fumes of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released in new cars from adhesives, paints, vinyls and plastics. It can cause headache, shortness of breath, sore throat, nausea, drowsiness. Studies have found 50 to 60 different VOCs in new cars.

The problem is like an “unhealthy building syndrome” where people get sick when toxic chemicals leave walls, carpets and new building supplies. In contrast, cabins are in smaller and narrower areas where air pollution affects passengers more.

According to a study by the Australian Commonwealth Organization for Science and Industry (2001), simply sitting in a new car can cause passengers to reach toxic emissions that exceed safe limits.

“The new interior cars have much higher VOCs than any of the buildings we’ve been looking for,” said researcher Steve Brown. “In the end, we need cars with internal materials that produce less emissions.”

A recent Japanese study found that the VOC of a new truck exceeded the maximum health threshold the day after delivery. Japanese automakers set as first VOC targets for new cars. According to an alliance representing GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler, US automakers are not pursuing the question of VOC emissions in new cars.

Like the smell, the chemical effect disappears in the end, usually after about six to eight months. Avoid parking in direct sunlight during these months, and if possible, use a solar reflector as the heat releases more VOC into the air.

Good ventilation is the key to avoiding VOC disease. Let in fresh air by opening the doors, closing the windows and operating the air conditioning.

However, many allergic persons try to avoid outside air (and pollen) during the allergy season. For patients with such allergies, the ultimate solution is a portable HEPA air purifier with VOC filter. Simply connect the air purifier to your car’s cigarette lighter and rid your car of allergens, volatile organic compounds, harmful odors and pollutants that may get into your car.

We hope that more countries will follow the example of Japan. In a few years, new cars will no longer be able to produce toxic gases. But at least we have a fragrant air freshener that reminds us!

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