Study finds ‘new car smell’ contains high levels of carcinogens

Study finds ‘new car smell’ contains high levels of carcinogens


That “new car smell” everyone loves is actually the scent of dangerous carcinogens — and drivers with long commutes could be at risk, according to a new study.

Researchers at UC-Riverside analyzed levels of benzene and formaldehyde measured in the air and dust of automobile cabins, and “potential risk” for people who spend significant amounts of time driving.

Formaldehyde is used by manufacturers in carpets, leather and paints in vehicle cabs, while benzene is contained in a variety of materials used in cars.

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Both “off-gas” in the car cabin, creating what is popularly known as “new car smell.” Both are also cancer-causing carcinogens, and benzene can pose risks to reproductive and developmental health.

“People experiencing long commutes over years and, in some cases, decades likely represent a sub-population vulnerable to excess exposure to vehicle-borne chemicals,” the researchers wrote in their study, which appears in the April issue of Environmental International.

For their study, the researchers calculated the daily dose

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