Environmental Group Claims that ‘New Car Smell’ Is Nothing More Than a Dangerous Mix of Toxic Chemicals

In a report that received little publicity outside of Michigan when it was first released during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, an environmental group claims that the “new car smell” people have come to expect (and even look for) is at least partially composed of toxic chemicals as is much of the material used in the interiors of motor vehicles.

As reported in CNNMoney.com, the report, “Toxic at any speed,” comes from “The Ecology Center, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based group. It reports that PBDEs, used as fire retardants, and phthalates, used primarily to soften PVC plastics, are found in dangerous amounts in dust and windshield film samples.”

The report called for “tougher regulations to phase out the use of the chemicals as well as voluntary moves by the auto manufacturers to stop using the products inside of new vehicles.”

“It also suggested that car owners take steps to reduce the release and breakdown of these chemicals by using solar reflectors, ventilating car interiors, and parking outside of sunlight whenever possible.”

According to the Center’s report: “These groups of chemicals have been linked to birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, premature births and early puberty in laboratory animals, among other serious health problems.”

In a statement from the Center’s Clean Air Campaign Director, Jeff Gaerhart stated: “We can no longer rely just on seatbelts and airbags to keep us safe in cars. Our research shows that autos are chemical reactors, releasing toxins before we even turn on the ignition. There are safer alternatives to these chemicals, and innovative companies that develop them first will likely be rewarded by consumers.”

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