ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — That “new car smell” could be bad for your health.
Cars often have a “new car” smell as part of the “off-gassing” that occurs as certain types of plastics and other materials break in.
According to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Beijing Institute of Technology, the smell is composed of formaldehyde, benzene, and other chemicals floating in the air that could irritate your skin, eyes, nose, and throat.
Some of those chemicals are considered Class 2 carcinogens, meaning studies have suggested that they can cause cancer.
The chemicals can be absorbed by breathing, but also through the skin.
Researchers conducted the study by measuring the air inside a new, midsized SUV plug-in hybrid electric vehicle over a 12-day period.
Researchers hope car manufacturers will reconsider using materials that emit those chemicals. In the meantime, the study’s authors said that simply opening the car’s windows can “rapidly reduce” the concentration of potentially harmful chemicals in the cabin.