Studies show new car smell may lead to birth defect and cancer!


Posted by: Okenwa Emeka

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Most people know the new car has a smell but is it really a car smell? In this article we discuss the new car smell and its toxicity. Check details below carefully!

Most people love the smell of a car that’s just out-of-the-dealer’s shop. It makes them feel like they’ve been able to break a ground and achieve something really great. In fact, some people love the “new car smell” so much so that they go out to get themselves some air fresheners and sprays that gives the same smell as that of a new car. Yes, that sounds like so much love. Have you ever wondered why new cars smell like that or what causes them to smell like that? Well, let me enlighten you on that smell you love so much.

1. What causes new car smell?

So, apparently, some people think the smell that comes off new cars, especially the economy ones, is leather but I tell you, only the really expensive luxurious cars have actual leather in their interiors. And we know that majority of the economy are unable to afford these type of cars. Sometimes, they also say it smells like good plastic and other times, just a bunch of different chemicals mixed together. So, what then causes this smell?


New car smell is composed of chemical smells

The interior of a car comprises of many chemicals and these chemicals release harsh compounds commonly called VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the interior of a car. The release of these compounds is known as “Outgassing,” a very unpleasant name just like the process. These VOCs are responsible for the new car smell that soothes a lot of people so much. However, some of them do not produce any odor at all.

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2. Impacts of new car smell on people's health

It’s been gathered that the VOCs contain compounds such as Formaldehyde and Ethyl Benzene, which are commonly found in paints and glue. These compounds are responsible for dizziness, allergies, headaches and even cancer, at the most, when inhaled into the body system in large quantities for a long period of time. Now, the question is does a new car contain enough of these chemicals to make the interior of the car unhealthy? Or would a person have to be exposed to it for a longer period of time than the average driver before it can be harmful to the health?

The Ecology Center, a non-profit group, carried out some studies in February of 2012 on the title “Model Year 2011/2012 Guide to New Vehicles”. In their report, they stated that these chemicals, when inhaled or ingested, have a high probability of causing serious health problems like learning disabilities, cancer and even birth problems. And an average human being that owns a car rides in it for more than one and a half hours every day and this is enough time to give the toxic chemicals chance to circulate round the body. They termed it as being one of the major causes of indoor air pollution of modern times.

However, these chemicals are not required when making interior auto parts and many car manufacturers have started inventing new ways of substituting these chemicals with something much healthier.


Ford, amongst other brand is developing a new way to get rid of the new car smell

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Some cars have been listed to be the best and the worst when it comes to toxic car smells. The top two cars charting this list are the Honda Civic, 2012 model, and the 2011 Toyota Prius. And the last two cars, according to the Ecology Center, are Chrysler 200 S, 2011 Model and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, 2011 model. This chart has Honda leading because it contains halogens, Bromine & Chlorine, and Lead, which puts all of them the same ranking in terms of volatile organic chemicals. The list is downloadable as a PDF file online and you can get to see every car made from 2006 till date and how much of these substances each of the card contain.

It is important that we look out for our health in every way possible and this is just one of the areas many people are unaware of. So, next time you buy a new car, be sure to make sure you air it out for a day or two before you decide to jump in and swim in the new car smell. Always remember your health comes first.

>>> Read more articles on safe driving and other car maintenance tips here on

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Okenwa Emeka

Okenwa Emeka


Okenwa Emeka is a prolific writer who combines his content creation skills with a strong passion for automobiles to make engaging articles for Naija car lovers. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing CAM with a diploma in digital marketing. 


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