Ever Wondered Where That New Car Smell Comes From?

Remember the last time you cruised by to "visit" your favorite new car at the nearest dealership? If the look and feel of that new car wasn't enough reason to make you buy it, the seductive mix of fresh plastic, paint and upholstery -- all part of that "new car" smell -- probably was. Experts advise, however, you should think twice about that alluring smell...

Seems that unmistakable scent has been linked to a toxic mix of harmful chemicals -- volatile organic compounds (VOCs) -- that come from the plastics, paints and glues that leach in the passenger area of your new car. Those fumes can be responsible for triggering headaches, sore throats and nausea.

Even worse, exposure to some of these VOCs over the long term increases your risk of cancer, although there's no evidence so far linking it to the smell of new cars. The cumulative effect of these VOCs are not unlike those associated with sick-building syndrome, that traces some illnesses to similar chemicals seeping from walls in new offices.

Recently, Japanese automakers set their own industry-wide goals to reduce VOCs, agreeing to cut cabin levels of 13 of the compounds, including possible cancer-causing agents styrene and formaldehyde, by 2007. The move came after the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association found new models made by its top three manufacturers failed to meet environmental guidelines.

That's why I strongly urge you to learn more about the 10 most common toxins that surround all of us and how to protect your family from them.

USA Today September 26, 2005

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