We all love those “new” smells: newborn babies, puppy breath, and of course, cars. When you buy a new car, the distinct leathery-plastic smell is something you look forward to, relish in, and even try to preserve. But what if that new car smell wasn’t very good for you? What if it could make you sick? Continue reading to learn where new car smell comes from and how it can affect your health.
Toxicity of New Car Smells
Obviously the scent we smell in a new car does not come from anything natural. These are residual odors from plastics and chemicals. There have been several studies investigating whether or not these odors are hazardous to our health and if they have the potential to make us sick. In these studies, there have been some vague suggestions that there are indeed a few chemicals in new car smell that can be toxic, some of which never really go away no matter how old the vehicle’s is.
The new car smell can be described in many ways: leather smells, plastic smells, and even chemical smells. And the one closest to the truth: chemicals. That’s right; new car smell basically comes from the chemicals used to manufacture several vehicle interior components, including paints and adhesives. These chemicals are known to release VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds. This release process is referred to as “outgassing.”
Although some VOC’s are odorless, many others are the source of those new car smells everyone loves so much. VOC’s such as ethyl benzene and formaldehyde are found in interior paint and glues. In large doses or over extended periods of time, these volatile compounds can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, allergies, and even cancer. But this still does not answer the question of whether or not enough outgasses takes place in new cars to do us any real harm. In order to discover the truth, we must continue doing scientific studies. So continue to support scientific research!