Plastic covers, new smell: Your car could make you sick

Plastic covers, new smell: Your car could make you sick

You might be wondering what is the link between your health and the interior of a car. Yes, there is a connection and if you are not careful your car's interior could make you sick.

New smell

Like a new book, a brand-new car will have a 'wonderful and distinctive smell'. But enjoying that 'new smell' could be extremely harmful for your health. The new car smell is nothing but a mix of volatile organic compounds from the adhesives and sealants used in car manufacturing, something known as off-gassing. That new car smell comes from toxic chemicals such as lead, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic and mercury off-gassing in a car's interior. Studies say that it could take up to four months for this smell to disappear.

The presence of evaporating organic compounds is high in new cars. Spend a long time inside a new car with all windows closed, one could suffer from allergy and breathing difficulties. If heavy metals like lead are inhaled for long duration, it could lead to disorders of the nervous system and deadly diseases like cancer. The elderly and children are more susceptible to these chemicals.

The remedy

There is only one remedy. Before you enter the vehicle, leave all the doors open for some time. Do use the air conditioner continuously in recirculation mode; choose the fresh air mode frequently to let fresh air in.

Plastics threat

There are people who do not remove the plastic covers of seats and sunblind; they do this so that the seats and other parts remain ‘brand new’ for a long time. But when the car is parked under blazing sun what happens is something that we have never thought about. Kept under sun for a long time, the temperature inside the car goes up to over 80 degree Celsius. The plastics react with the heat and emit chemicals that disperse into the air. Inhaling this air is hazardous to health.

Do not get inside a car that is parked directly under the sun right away. Keep all the doors open for some time before entering inside. Keep all the windows down, choose the air circulation mode and put the blower in full blast. After a few minutes change the mode to recirculation and switch on the air conditioner; also close the windows. After a while, the blower speed can be adjusted as per requirement.

Maintain cleanliness

The interior of the car should be kept clean the same way you maintain your home. The floor, dashboard and AC vents all are magnets for bacteria and fungus. The main culprits are moisture and dust. These conditions could easily lead to allergy and lung diseases. At least once in a month vacuum-clean the interior. Do not forget to change the AC air filter at fixed intervals; besides, the vents need to be cleaned regularly.

Keep these things out of car

Your car is not the place to safekeep everything. Never keep water bottles, medicines, food items and beverages inside a car that is parked under direct sunlight. The temperature inside could go up and spoil these items and turn them toxic. Mineral water and other beverages get spoiled in the high temperature inside; it is easily identifiable with changes in taste and colour.

Are perfumes good?

There are few who do not use car air fresheners. When the fragrance spreads inside, beware that it is harmful to health. Most air fresheners contain harmful chemicals that can cause allergies, asthma etc. Natural alternatives like lemon grass oil would be a better option.

Keep distance

Smoke emitted from vehicles contain hazardous chemicals. If it enters the car, those sitting inside would be inhaling this toxic gas. Hence, switch on the AC while travelling in city areas. Do not let the toxic fumes let off by large vehicles to linger inside the car. Try to maintain the maximum possible distance from such vehicles.

Sick car syndrome

The sick room syndrome that is usually caused by being confined inside a closed room for a long time could happen inside a car too, leading to headache, cough and tiredness. So, during long journeys take breaks to come out of the vehicle. The sick car syndrome is caused by bacteria and virus inside the vehicle.

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