Toxic Chemicals Found in Automobile Interiors

How To Remove New Car Odors

remove new car odorsOne of the most toxic places you can be is inside a car. The World Health Organization has recognized interior air pollution of vehicles are a major threat to human

Between the toxins in the car exhaust coming in from outside (especially in heavy and daily commute traffic), and the toxins from the materials used in the interior, riding in an automobile should require wearing a hazmat suit.

Both of these sources of harmful pollutants have been studied and measured over a period of time.

The International Center for Technology Assessment studied the concentration of automobile exhaust pollution that collects on the inside of cars and published their findings in In-Car Air Pollution: The Hidden Threat to Automobile Drivers

They found levels of pollutants from car exhaust to often be much higher for automobile drivers and passengers than at nearby ambient air monitoring stations or even at the side of the road. They even exceed the significant exposures experienced by bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transit riders.

Studies done over the past two decades have conclusively demonstrated that the shell of an automobile does not protect passengers inside cars from the dangerous air pollutants produced by car exhaust.

The primary pollutants from car exhaust that are found in the air inside cars are:
• Particulate matter
• VOCs
• Carbon Monoxide
• Nitrogen Oxide
• Ozone

dangerous chemicals odors found in carsChemicals emitting from materials in car interiors have been extensively studied by The Ecology Center, who released several reports with their findings from 2006-2012. Their most recent report in 2012, Model Year 2011/2012 Guide to New Vehicles ( identified a number of chemicals of concern.

“Research shows that vehicle interiors contain a unique cocktail of hundreds of toxic chemicals that off-gas in small, confined spaces,” said Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center. “Since these chemicals are not regulated, consumers have no way of knowing the dangers they face. Our testing is intended to expose those dangers and encourage manufacturers to use safer alternatives.”

Chemicals of primary concern include:
• VOCs, including benzene and styrene
• brominated flame retardants
• polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and plasticizers
• lead and other heavy metals.

Many of these pollutants were found in levels exceeding indoor and outdoor air quality standards.

cleaning chemical odors from carConcentrations of indoor pollutants from materials in automobile interiors do decrease significantly over time, as the toxic components off-gas and are removed from the interior of the car via open door and windows, and ventilation systems. But concentrations rise with increased temperature of the car interior, so when you park your car in the sun you are increasing pollutants in the interior. Sunlight (UV) exposure also creates reaction products which can also be harmful to human health.

All of these chemicals produce serious health effects.

Fire retardants have been linked to cancer, male infertility, autism, and obesity. VOCs as a group depress the central nervous system. Long-term exposure to VOCs may lead to “organic solvent syndrome,” which produces headaches, irritability, depression, insomnia, agitation, extreme tiredness, tremors, impaired concentration and short-term memory.

Many heavy metals cause cancer and disrupt the endocrine system. Lead specifically contributes to lower IQ, arthritis, gout, hypothyroid, insomnia, stillbirths and many other health problems.

The good news is that some automakers are going in the right direction to reduce auto indoor pollution. Some automakers have eliminated PVC and fire retardants from their interiors and more are likely to follow. In 2012, The Ecology Center reported 17 percent of new vehicles have PVC-free interiors and 60 percent are produced without brominated fire retardants.

Neutralizing Chemical Odors From Cars

Removing chemical odors from your car upholstery and carpeting can be achieved by using the EnviroKlenz everyday odor eliminator in conjunction with a hot water extractor. The first steps that you will want to take are to get the both the seating and carpeting damp and ready for deodorizing(please ensure that your car’s upholstery is water safe). Once the upholstery and carpeting have been dampen, apply the EnviroKlenz everyday odor eliminator to the affected area. If using a spray bottle or pump sprayer, we recommend diluting it in a 4:1 ratio(4 parts water and 1 part EnviroKlenz), allow for 10-15 minutes of contact time. Once dry, you may come behind and extract it out with an extractor or vacuum it up with a shop vacuum. For more information on how to purchase the EnviroKlenz Everyday For Eliminator click the shop button below.


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