Study: New Car Smell May Actually Be Harmful

By Trevor Dorchies | February 16, 2012
Love that new car smell? A recent study by HealthyStuff.org shows it may not be as good for you as it actually smells. Test data was collected after evaluating 204 new 2011-2012 model vehicles as part of a multi-year data base that has already complied over 900 vehicles. Vehicles were rated on the amount of chemicals and other toxins used during the production of the interior. As for the best-rated vehicle as found by HealthyStuff.org, that honor goes to the 2012 Honda Civic checking in with a score of 0.46. The 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport finished in dead last with a score of 3.17. Chemicals like bromine-based flame retardants and interior fabrics utilizing PVC are believed to be harmful and vehicles that use these materials achieved a lower score. Low levels of heavy metals and other metal allergens are also unhealthy and contribute to a vehicle's low score. Check out the ten best and worst vehicles as compiled by HealthyStuff.org below. Honda continues to be the auto maker with the healthiest interiors, a trend it started back in 2007. Hyundai-Kia earns the title of auto maker with the unhealthiest interior for the second year in a row as evaluated by HealthyStuff.org. Although the Outlander Sport found its way to the bottom of the study's ratings, Mitsubishi is actually one of the most improved auto makers this year (+38 percent) along with Ford (+30 percent) and Volkswagen (+42 percent), respectively. Daimler AG wasn't as lucky earning the title for auto makers with declining ratings with a score or -29 percent. These ratings are a representation of improvement when compared to average vehicle scores of 2009-2010 models. As for that enchanting new car scent that wafts its way into your nose immediately after you open the door to a vehicle fresh off the production line, HealthyStuff.org may tell you to take a step back instead. Their study concluded that the "new car smell" is actually toxic and stems from poisonous chemicals used in interior parts like the seats, dashboard, and trim. The amount of plastics that are employed in vehicles have increased ten times since 1960, rising from 22 pounds to 250 pounds today. Chemicals like stabilizers, antimicrobials, plasticizers, antioxidants, and flame retardants are used to help better the plastics performance but HealthyStuff.org's study found dangerous levels of indoor air quality to be present. Do you like the smell of a new car? Do you think the "new car smell" is toxic? Sound off in the comment section below. Source: HealthyStuff.org
Ten Best Picks Ten Worst Picks
2012 Honda Civic (0.46) 2012 Mini Cooper S Clubman (2.84)
2011 Toyota Prius (0.55) 2012 Volkswagen Eos (2.85)
2011 Honda CR-Z (0.63) 2011 Kia Sportage (2.87)
2011 Nissan Cube (0.65) 2011 Chevy Aveo5 (2.89)
2012 Acura RDX (0.74) 2012 Hyundai Accent (2.98)
2012 Acura ZDX (0.74) 2011 Mazda CX-7 (3.08)
2012 Audi S5 (0.74) 2011 Nissan Versa (3.08)
2011 Smart Coupe (0.74) 2011 Kia Soul (3.11)
2011 Toyota Venza (0.77) 2011 Chrysler 200 SC (3.17)
2011 Smart Passion (0.77) 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (3.17)
  • 2012 Civic Lx Driver Side
  • 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Drivers Side Three Quarters
  • 2011 Ford F 150 Passengers Side Three Quarters
  • 2012 Volkswagen Eos Drivers Side Three Quarters
  • 2012 Hyundai Accent Driver Side Three Quarters1
  • 2011 Acura Rdx Passenger Side Three Quarters
 
2 comments
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Vin D
Vin D

Ok, I'm keeping my VW- but I'll be keeping the roof down as much as possible!!

San Diego Car Repair
San Diego Car Repair

I didn't know that it was harmful! It used to be my guilty pleasure, actually it applies to everything that's new. There's just something intoxicating about the smell of new things and items. Hopefully the manufacturers would do something to fix this for their consumers.

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