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Old 16th February 2021, 17:17   #1
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Default Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

Benzene and formaldehyde -- both used in automobile manufacturing -- are known to cause cancer at or above certain levels of exposure and are Prop. 65-listed chemicals.

As with most chemicals, the poison is in the amount. Under a certain threshold of exposure, even known carcinogens are not likely to cause cancer. Once you cross that threshold, the risk for disease increases. The findings were published in the journal, Environment International.

Both benzene and formaldehyde are carcinogens, and benzene carries the additional risk of reproductive and developmental toxicity.
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Washington: The findings of new research suggest that average commuters in California are potentially inhaling chemicals at levels that increase the risk of birth defects and cancer.

Governmental agencies tend to regulate that threshold in workplaces. However, private spaces such as the interior of our cars and living rooms are less studied and less regulated.

New UC Riverside research shows that the average commuter in California is exceeding the threshold for exposure, breathing in unsustainably high levels of both chemicals.

"These chemicals are very volatile, moving easily from plastics and textiles to the air that you breathe," said David Volz, UCR professor of environmental toxicology.

The study, published in the journal Environment International, calculated the daily dose of benzene and formaldehyde being inhaled by drivers with commutes of at least 20 minutes per day.

It found that up to 90% of the population in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Santa Clara, and Alameda counties have at least a 10% chance of exceeding cancer risk from inhaling the chemicals, based on having 30-minute average commute times.

"Of course, there is a range of exposure that depends on how long you're in the car, and how much of the compounds your car is emitting," said Aalekhya Reddam, a graduate student in the Volz laboratory, and lead author of the study.

Previously, Volz and Reddam studied commuter exposure to a flame retardant called TDCIPP or chlorinated tris, and found that longer commute times increased exposure to that carcinogen as well.

They set out on this study wanting to understand the risk of that compound relative to other chemicals introduced during car manufacturing.

Reddam advises commuters to keep the windows open during their rides if possible. "At least with some air flow, you'd be diluting the concentration of these chemicals inside your car," she said.

Benzene is used to produce synthetic fibers, and formaldehyde is a binder in plastics. "There should be alternatives to these chemicals to achieve the same goals during vehicle manufacturing," Volz said. "If so, these should be used."
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Old 16th February 2021, 17:58   #2
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Default re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

Most IT companies in Bangalore have shut offices and enabled employees to work from home in response to the Covid health emergency, and rightly so. But don't bet on any of the same organizations responding in a similar fashion to the health threat of all their employees being exposed everyday to exhaust fumes during the daily commute to these IT parks which see the worst and slowest moving traffic in the city.

Goes to show the difference immediacy and headlines make when it comes to influencing policy, government or private industry.

Last edited by am1m : 16th February 2021 at 18:00.
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Old 16th February 2021, 18:29   #3
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Default re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

- We recently did a school project in Chemistry Class, I was the group leader. I chose Chemistry in Cars, and did some research on these chemicals.

- They are called VOCs — Volatile Organic Compounds. You know, it’s these VOCs that cause the new car smell! And there is between 30-250 types of these in your car’s interior.

- Here is my classmate, Paras’s slide:


Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners-c7e6fbd0e3da4293af6daac4197905c0.jpeg

- Source of those points: https://www.iqair.com/us/blog/air-qu...or-off-gassing

- Some more details:

Quote:
Fifty-five organic substances including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and aldehydes present in indoor air were measured from 24 car cabins in Japan.

A screening-level risk assessment was also performed. Acetaldehyde (3.81–36.0 μg/m3), formaldehyde (3.26–26.7 μg/m3), n-tetradecane (below the method quantification limit (<MQL) to 47.7 μg/m3), toluene (4.23–78.3 μg/m3), and n-undecane (<MQL to 6.24 μg/m3) concentrations exceeded method detection limits in all the investigated car cabins.

Ratios between indoor and outdoor concentrations revealed that most organic compounds originated from the car interior materials.

Total volatile organic compound (TVOC) concentrations in 14 car cabins (58% of all car cabins) exceeded the advisable values established by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (400 μg/m3).

The highest TVOC concentration (1136 μg/m3) was found in a new car (only one month since its purchase date).

Nevertheless, TVOC concentrations exceeded the advisable value even for cars purchased over 10 years ago.

Hazard quotients (HQs) for formaldehyde obtained using measured median and highest concentrations in both exposure scenarios for occupational use (residential time in a car cabin was assumed to be 8 h) were higher than that expected, a threshold indicative of potential adverse effects. Under the same exposure scenarios, HQ values for all other organic compounds remained below this threshold.
Source: https://www.aimspress.com/article/10...sci.2016.3.362

- VIAQ (Vehicle interior air quality) is getting more attention from scientists, consumers, health advocates, vehicle manufacturers, and even legislators these days, but proper norms/laws would take years to come to India. Heck, India doesn’t even have norms for structurally safe cars.

- Question to +GTO: You might be most impacted by VOCs because you test drive so many new cars a month, have you experienced any irritation due to the new car smell?

We need to spread some serious awareness about this, IMHO. Great work starting this thread, +wheelguy.
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Old 17th February 2021, 08:03   #4
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

Damn, if that's the case in the USA, imagine what it will be in India with almost zero regard for safety. Can we trust our car manufacturers? No man.

But hey, here is yet another not-so-obvious advantage to buying pre-worshipped cars . No new car smell, lesser risk from carcinogens.

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Originally Posted by EightSix View Post
Question to GTO: You might be most impacted by VOCs because you test drive so many new cars a month, have you experienced any irritation due to the new car smell?
Luckily, no (*touches wood*). I drive anywhere between 1 - 4 brand new cars every month.
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Old 17th February 2021, 08:54   #5
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

To top this, some of our idiot new car owners prefer to keep plastic wrapping on seats and other areas for years. Imagine the carcinogenic compounds released by degrading plastic covers over time? Then there are those who get their dashboard and interiors polished routinely, wonder what poisonous chemicals are being used in polish compounds?
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Old 17th February 2021, 09:40   #6
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

Some years ago, when I applied for a housing loan, I was told to get life insurance. The insurance company arranged for lots of medical tests to establish a benchmark.

After all the tests were done, I sat down with a lady doctor to find out how good / bad my internal systems were.
When I asked her about my lung condition, especially considering I am a smoker she said:
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Nowadays the pollution is so much, that there is not much risk difference left between a smoker and non smoker.
Moral of the story: Don't over think.
YMMV.
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Old 17th February 2021, 14:59   #7
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

Quote:
Originally Posted by EightSix View Post
Heck, India doesn’t even have norms for structurally safe cars.
- Question to +GTO: You might be most impacted by VOCs because you test drive so many new cars a month, have you experienced any irritation due to the new car smell?
This was something on my mind too. It is common knowledge by now that the new car smell from adhesives and glues are not that good. Also the plastic coverings don't help things either. Folks who are around new cars, like car reviewers & show room executives could be more prone to more harm, if present.

And then there are some folks who retain seat plastic covers & have perfumes that replicate that smell ! Now with Covid-19 protocols we can expect some more wrapping retention. I wont be surprised to see certain folks driving with this wrapping on their steering and gear lever .

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Last edited by TrackDay : 17th February 2021 at 15:10.
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Old 17th February 2021, 16:18   #8
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

It looks like some kind of biased study. Benzene is a very common chemical. If you use deodorant or any flavor for cooking, its likely to have some benzene derivative. Formaldehyde is also a very naturally occurring substance which is used in just about every polymer that we use. Phenol Formaldehyde is what is called as Bakelite and is extensively used as an insulator and starting point for many resins that have found their way into almost all parts of our lives. The big C is a malady that is yet to be fully understood (and cured) so sometimes ignorance is bliss.

PS : Asbestos is a known artificial carcinogen which was used in older cars as a gasket.

Last edited by srini1785 : 17th February 2021 at 16:26.
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Old 17th February 2021, 16:37   #9
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

Slightly OT, but I love how a new car interior smells. Is there any car perfume which gives out the same aroma?
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Old 17th February 2021, 17:17   #10
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

Sometime back there was an article in Kannada magazine that talked about the effect of metallic vessels on the food cooked inside them.

It was projected as though the human race would end in next few years because of the bad impacts of the metallic, plastic and mud (pots) reactions with organic compounds that vegetables, dhals and rice items that we eat, while cooking

These kinds of studies kept happening in the past as well and will keep happening in future also. Unless the impacts are significant, I think it is better not to take them seriously and ignore them similar to what we do with Research papers published in WhatsApp University. Else, leading peaceful life would be difficult.

Last edited by gkveda : 17th February 2021 at 17:19.
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Old 18th February 2021, 14:21   #11
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

As a rule of thumb, I always open my front windows, start driving and close them after about 20-30 seconds.

I hope this helps me stay healthy.
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Old 18th February 2021, 14:41   #12
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

Would it be better if we simply keep the new car parked in open with windows open for few days. Or if you are short of time, may be get a pedestal fan to blow air from one side and keep the window open?

Just randomly thinking.
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Old 18th February 2021, 15:50   #13
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

Dashboard outgassing?

Here in this part of the world I worry about neighboring educated morons burning plastic, rubber, hygiene products et al in their open trash pit and letting it smolder.
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Old 20th February 2021, 11:38   #14
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

This is interesting. I always wondered why my new Honda CRV doesn't have that over powering (but pleasant) 'new car smell' which my older cars still carry.

The only difference I can think of, are the other cars are manufactured in India (Maruti, Hyundai and even the Jazz), but the CRV is a CKD. Not sure if there are more stringent regulations elsewhere. Btw, all cars use covered parking.

That's why I went ahead and bought the CRV a nice car perfume.

Last edited by TheCatalyst : 20th February 2021 at 11:41. Reason: Added content
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Old 20th February 2021, 12:34   #15
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Default Re: Unacceptably high levels of carcinogens inhaled by car owners

Aah, I stopped thinking so much. Unless I quit everything, give up all interests and hobbies and go live a secluded life in some remote jungle, I'll always be exposed to harmful chemicals including carcinogens. Forget about cars - basic items like highly modified and processed food products, produce and so on. Harmful chemicals are in everything and I have accepted that I'll always be exposed to them.

I find it simpler to just ignore, and live the moment now a days. We have reached the point of no return in daily life for this. If I start thinking of these harms - I'll be paranoid 24x7 and end up in a nut-house. In all probability, Cancer is waiting some time in future for a lot of us. Be it from a car or from a cucumber we add in a salad.

Agreed - those working in the car factories may perhaps be exposed to these chemicals in higher quantities. But its not exclusive to cars either. Barring perhaps IT - everywhere else, people are exposed to harmful chemicals as well as processes. Its inevitable.

Enjoy the new car while we can .

Last edited by Reinhard : 20th February 2021 at 12:36.
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