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New Report Finds Toxic 'New Car Smell' Chemicals Linked to Health Risks

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Washington, DCAccording to the fourth annual consumer guide to toxic substances in car interiors, produced by the Ecology Center, consumers remain at risk for exposure to bromine and other toxic chemicals that produce that "new car smell" despite the fact that overall, the use of these types of chemicals is being reduced by manufacturers. Among the worst offenders are Mitsubishi, Chrysler and KIA.

"Research shows that vehicle interiors contain a unique cocktail of hundreds of toxic chemicals that off-gas in small, confined spaces," Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center said in an interview with "Automobiles function as chemical reactors, creating one of the most hazardous environments we spend time in.” He notes that 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," he said.

Chemicals of most concern include bromine, which is associated with brominated flame retardants; chlorine, which indicates the use of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and plasticizers; lead; and heavy metals. According to the Center's report, 40% of vehicles tested in 2012 contained brominated flame retardants in their interiors. These substances have been linked to a variety of health issues including but not limited to birth defects, liver toxicity, impaired learning, cancer and allergies.

Given the fact that, according to the Ecology Center information, the average person spends 1.5 hours in his car per day, and in some cases extreme air temperatures inside the car and on the dashboards can increase the concentration of Volatile Organic Compounds –or VOCs– which subsequently break down into even more toxic substances, the risk for exposure is high.

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Posted by

i have a mitb-outland 2008 it was new with only 24miles.i have a lot of health promblems, i have copd, i get a lot do i need to have it test but it might can tell now. please let me no.

Posted by

The primary odor is 2-ethyl hexanol, a decompositon product from the organic peroxide used to make vinyl.

Posted by

We bought a new Tahoe September 8,2007.I was in perfect health.By 10-29-2007 I had to have emergency surgery because of a lot of fluid around my heart and lung.In 2010 I started to throwing up all the time.
Then I got these large lumps on my right leg.I went to a lot of doctors they all said that they didn't know what the knots were.After that I went to a Dermatoligist.
They took some samples and sent it to Emory hospital in Georgia.
By the time the results came back I was in a coma and still throwing up.
The doctor called my husband to tell him what was wrong with me.I was in stage four Lymphomia.
They told my husband that I would probably die,but I didn't.
I was lucky I had a great doctor.
I am now cancer free.I think the car made me sick.
We now let the windows down for at least 15 minutes after
we turn on the air conditioner.

Lillie Inez Watson


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