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The “New Car” Smell Can Be Bad For You!

Many people know right off that the new car smell is bad news.  It makes their eyes water, gives them headaches, and nausea.  Some even experience a sore throat and immune system disorders.  These chemicals that cause the new car smell are toxic.  

The smell comes from volatile organic compounds.  Even after the smell wears off you may notice a “fog” on the inside of your windshield and these same compounds cause that to happen.  This mix of compounds can consist of over 100 different chemicals.  The base of the compound is petroleum and it can be found in your car’s carpet, dashboard, solvent, and glue.  If you have had new carpet installed in your home you may experience the same smell. I have heard of office workers having to go home after new carpet has been laid in their building because they got sick almost immediately from the fumes.

Some countries limit the amount of these compounds manufacturers can use but so far the United States has not.  Car manufacturers have received complaints so they are trying to limit the problem by minimizing the release of the toxic chemicals.  Leather and fabric upholstery both generate volatile organic compounds so it isn’t as simple as selecting a different material to limit the smell.  

The smell is most noticeable in the first two months of manufacturing and does eventually wear off, as you know.  If your new car smell is particularly potent it is vital that you leave the windows down as much as possible to air it out.  Even leaving them open a small bit can help. Parking in the sun makes the fumes worse so try to avoid that as much as possible. Air from outside is the only thing that will help.  Turning on the air just recirculates the toxins. Next time you “test drive” a new car that has been sitting in the sun with the windows rolled up you will get a good dose of these compounds.

Getting a new car is always a fun experience but I just wanted you to be aware of these dangerous compounds so you can enjoy your car without getting sick from that new car smell!

 

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