According to this study, “the smell of new cars” is carcinogenic

According to a study by scientists at the University of California at Riverside, air circulation in new cars is not so good for your health that it can be compared in terms of harmfulness to the outside gases emitted by the exhaust pipes.

The report highlights the pollution that Americans, especially Californians, are exposed to in their motor vehicles. For example, in the US, you spend an average of almost an hour a day in your car to get to work. Science Alert emphasizes a number that adds up quickly.

Harmful smells

Obviously, this reality is not safe, especially for those who drive a new vehicle. Using data on time spent in cars and previous measurements to determine the level of chemicals in the interiors of new cars, experts found that driving more than 20 minutes a day would increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer. This is due to several dangerous components used in automotive engineering. The scent, which many people find pleasant, would therefore actually be harmful, even deadly.

Chemicals floating in the air

A priori, the results of this study seem very worrying for those who are used to spending several hours in their motor vehicle. However, the danger is only real in certain cases. There are dangerous chemicals in the air in every new car.

Plastics, adhesives, paints and textiles, to name a few, contain chemicals that can slowly escape into the air. “These chemicals are very volatile,” said environmental toxicologist David Volz of the University of California at Riverside, co-author of the study.

And the solutions?

Of the five volatile chemicals investigated by the researchers, two are particularly dangerous: benzene and formaldehyde. A motorist’s duration of exposure to them would likely exceed the limit of 20 minutes per day. As a reminder, benzene is a chemical found in crude oil and rubber.

A motorist’s duration of exposure to these would likely exceed the limit of 20 minutes per day. Photo credit: Shutterstock / rivermo74

Formaldehyde, in turn, is used in carpets and paints. Symptoms of exposure to these substances can vary from person to person, but they can range from nausea to vomiting to a rash. Disorders that can eventually lead to cancer.

In order to maintain our health, the authors of the study recommend always opening the car windows (if possible). The use of transportation such as motorcycles and scooters is also recommended. In addition, Volz believes that the use of less dangerous alternatives should help to reduce the risks.

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