For decades, the unique smell of a brand-new car has been a symbol of freedom, luxury, and adventure. But the seemingly innocuous scent may be hazardous to your health.

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto

New Car Smell

A new study published in Cell Reports Physical Science showed that the “new car smell” could potentially increase the risk of cancer. The research team, from Harvard University and Beijing Institute of Technology, took measurements of common chemicals produced in new cars left parked outdoors for 12 days straight.

What The Study Found

To their surprise, they found the levels of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde exceeded China’s national safety standards for air quality in cars.

attachment-new car

Of particular concern was formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, which was found to be 35% higher than the safety standards. Similarly, acetaldehyde, another cancer-causing compound, exceeded the standards by 61%.

Further research on the matter shows that people can still be exposed to dangerous chemicals, even if they do not have a long commute.

97X logo
Get our free mobile app

They discovered that spending even just 30 minutes in a car with “new car smell” can put you at risk of surpassing those safety levels. The level of danger can even become greater in warmer temperatures, making summers a dangerous season for driving.

Clearly, this newfound research poses a real potential risk to people who drive or ride in new cars on a regular basis. Be sure to stay aware of the conditions in your vehicle, and take safety precautions as needed.

Small car with interior flavour tree
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Further Research

While many studies typically focus on air temperature, this new research showed that the biggest effect came from the surface temperature of materials.

“These observations increase our understanding of in-cabin chemical transport and emission mechanisms,” the researchers wrote.

The news may be a shock for some car owners, however, it is important to be aware of the potential risks that come with the “new car smell”. For safety reasons, it may be best to switch to fresh, clean air when you get into your car and keep it running as little as possible.

Read More Here: New York Post

More From 97X