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Is 'new car smell' toxic?

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When buying a new car, many people look forward to having that ‘new car smell.’

But a study says inhaling that scent could actually fill your body with toxic fumes.

Researchers from the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., tested dashboards, steering wheels, armrests and seats of more than 200 new cars – and found more than 275 chemicals.

The center’s research found these chemicals included brominated flame retardants, which have been linked to thyroid cancer, learning and memory impairment and decreased fertility.

Another chemical found in new cars? Polyvinal chloride, a chemical linked to problems with the liver, kidney and fertility.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the worst car offenders included Mitsubishi’s compact SUV, the 2011 Chrysler 200 and the 2011 Kia Soul.

Dr. Raed Dweik, who studies environmental health hazards at the Cleveland, did not take part in the study, but said this doesn’t necessarily mean you should get rid of your new car.

“All they said is that there are these 200-some compounds in the new car – be aware,” Dweik said. “Some of them, in other studies, have been linked to thyroid disease, infertility, or others, but these are all hypothetical scenarios because one, we don’t know if that’s true. Two, we don't know what level you need to be exposed to.”

Dweik said air pollution surrounding cars may potentially be more dangerous than the new car smell.

"Since these chemicals are not regulated, consumers have no way of knowing the dangers they face,” said Jeff Gearhart, the group’s research director, in a statement to the newspaper. “Our testing is intended to expose those dangers and encourage manufacturers to use safer alternatives.”

 

 

Click here to read more from the Chicago Tribune.