That New Car Smell

Last week the Ecology Center released its fourth consumer guide to toxic chemicals in cars. How does your car rank? Check the list at

Toxic chemicals in cars — VOCs that include bromine, chlorine, and lead — off-gas from the seats, dashboard, steering wheel, and other components. Since we Americans spend on average more than 1-1/2 hours in a car each day, this amounts to a lot of exposure to indoor air pollution.

What can you do about it? Leave your car windows open whenever possible. Use the fresh air intake instead of recirculating the same air. Park in the shade to avoid the high temperatures that increase VOCs.

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One Response to That New Car Smell

  1. air ionizer March 20, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    The unmistakable smell of a new car — a mix of fresh plastic, paint, and upholstery – may be linked to a toxic cocktail of harmful chemicals, prompting Japanese automakers to attempt to tone down the smell. Their push to reduce cabin concentrations of the fumes could spur similar action by U.S. and European rivals.

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