"The smell of a new car" is the smell of carcinogens

Toxicologist David Voltz from the University of California (USA) found that residents of densely populated San Francisco and Los Angeles are ten times more likely to develop cancer due to their addiction to new cars. The fact is that the characteristic aroma of a new car from a car dealership is literally the smell of risk. It is formed by two known carcinogens, formaldehyde and benzene.

In the case of a new car, all interior trim elements and accessories have the same composition of substances that is formed during their manufacture. Glue, paint, all types of plastics, textiles, rubber - all impregnated with chemicals for protection and durability. They generate the so-called “waste gases” - volatile compounds, the particles of which can easily move inside the passenger compartment, adhere to dust and settle with it on surfaces.

According to Volz's research, it is enough to spend only 20 minutes in a closed car for the concentration of the carcinogenic substances obtained in the body to exceed the safe norm. This is despite the fact that the average American spends more than an hour in the car every day, and for many people, from couriers to Uber taxi drivers, all their activities are associated with being in the car. There are no data on old cars, over time the concentration of benzene and formaldehyde in the finish decreases, but each case is individual.

The toxicologist urges not to rush to conclusions. First, a lot depends on a number of factors, including the air temperature, the weather, whether the driver drives with the window open, and how often the air conditioner is used. Secondly, it is about increasing the risk of getting cancer, and not creating a direct threat of such an outcome. The information is intended primarily for car manufacturers who need to find safe alternatives to the substances used in the finishing.