New Car Smell Bad for Your Health

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

September 27, 2005

There is nothing like the smell of a new car. You either love it, or you hate it.

That unmistakable scent of a brand new car. Some people call it the smell of success. But what consumers don't know is what that smell really is, and it could be doing more harm than good.

"Most people do like the smell of it and I do to," said Bob Seaman.

"I like it because it represents cleanliness," said Margaret Gentry.

"It just smells kind of fake and chemically and it's kind of like when you put new carpet down--it takes awhile for that awful smell to go away," said Jennifer Beachley.

That's exactly what it is--chemicals. The smell comes from the plastic, glue, and carpeting in cars. When these materials are brand new they release gases, two known carcinogens that can cause cancer.

"It seems to me like they should do something about it," said Pat Dennison.

The United States does not have any standards in place to protect people from these toxic chemicals.

"I never really thought about it. I guess it's something I'll take into consideration the next time I think about buying a car," said Beachley.

Still, some said this won't stop them from buying that beauty.

"You would still continue to buy the new cars and like that new car smell?" a reporter asked.

"Yes I would, yes," replied Gentry.

Experts said the best thing to do is to drive with you windows open letting all the poisonous gas out. After six months the new car smell and the toxic chemicals should wear off.

Some people say they like to spray cleaning solutions inside new cars to get rid of that smell, but experts advise against this. They say that is just adding to the problem.

Some car makers will start selling healthier version in Japan first, before bringing those versions over to the U.S.

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