Sunday, October 02, 2005
New-car Smell Emerges As Safety Issue
From the Montreal Gazette - Oct. 2, 2005:
"Anyone who's pulled away from the dealer's lot in a shiny, new sedan knows the seductive scent of fresh plastic, paint and upholstery that evokes a rush of pride and consumer satisfaction.
The new-car smell emanates largely from chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that leach from glues, paints, vinyls and plastics in the passenger compartment. The fumes can trigger headaches, sore throats, nausea and drowsiness. Prolonged exposure to some of the chemicals can lead to cancer, though there's no evidence linking that to concentrations in cars.
Critics liken the problem to so-called sick-building syndrome, which traces some illnesses to similar agents seeping from the walls, carpets and fixtures of new buildings.
Just sitting in a new car can subject riders to toxic emissions several times the limits deemed safe for homes or offices by some health authorities, though the problem tends to dissipate after about six months, according to a 2001 study by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
'We find new car interiors have much higher VOC levels than any building we've researched,' research leader Steve Brown said."
New-car smell emerges as safety issue