New car smell can cause cancer: Study

Many people may be surprised to learn that the much loved smell of new automobiles is really hazardous to health, study reveals

Many people may be surprised to learn that the much loved smell of new automobiles can be hazardous to health. According to a recent study, it has been found that going on long drives in new cars can increase the risk of cancer in individuals.

A study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and the Beijing Institute of Technology in China found that driving a new car for certain period of time may increase the risk of developing cancer causing cells. Reports says that even driving for just 20 minutes might expose one to dangerous quantities of harmful chemicals.

Further, the experts continued their study using sensors to identify the air quality inside a new car. They picked several cars, tightly sealed them and kept outside for 12 straight days under varying environmental conditions. Formaldehyde, a pollutant that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claims may cause cancer, was found in the new cars at levels that were 34.9% higher than the Chinese national safety requirements. Additionally, levels of the potential human carcinogen acetaldehyde were found to be 60.5% higher than Chinese national safety standards.

Study reveals that the mixture of volatile organic compounds discovered inside the automobiles at concentrations would be considered a high potential health risk. On the other hand the substances that give new cars their odour posses a “high health risk for drivers.” The report claims that “Deep calculation suggests that the inhalation route plays a significant role in the risk of cancer for exposed drivers and passengers.” Researchers also found that chemical concentration increased along with the temperature.

According to the EPA, formaldehyde is a colourless, flammable gas at room temperature and has a strong odour. This chemical is found in daily home usage such as permanent press textiles, paints and coatings, lacquers, and finishes, etc. On the other hand, EPA further elaborates that acetaldehyde is a substance that is utilised as an intermediate in the synthesis of other chemicals. It is also a component used in basic colours, polyester resin, and scents.

Experts from the University of California, Riverside stated back in 2021 that driving new vehicles for a longer period of time might increase the risk of developing cancer. Even driving it for as little as 20 minutes might expose one to dangerous quantities of chemicals.

In conclusion, the study explains the potential risk associated with inhalation of benzene and formaldehyde, especially for people who spend most of their time in their vehicles. The risk with this variability in chemical concentrations from countries with diverse climates may not be limited to the state of California. As benzene and formaldehyde are on the Prop 65 list of cancer and reproductive/developmental toxicity risk, more information on the potential association with these chemicals during the exposure to vehicles is required.

Also Read: Spanish scientists discover technique that detects cancer…
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