Is nothing sacred? Now new car smell is bad for you.

Is nothing sacred? Now new car smell is bad for you.

Summary: You might want to consider opening the windows and letting that new car smell air out.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

Is nothing sacred? I ask you, is there nothing that some study, somewhere, won't find toxic?

Today's case in point is one of the most savored scents, one of the most honored odeurs. What, you ask, might that most favored olfactory experiences be? Quite simply, the factory fresh perfume we have come to know and love as "new car smell".

There is nothing on Earth like it. When you buy a car, and get in for the first few times, there's that special smell. It's as pleasing to the nostrils as it is to the ego. It says, "Look at me, smell me, I just bought a new car. Love me, love my car!"

And now, Dear Reader, they want to take that simple pleasure away from us all. Those fiends!

Our sister site,, is now reporting that new car smell is, in fact toxic.

Can you believe it? The nerve of those scientists.

Apparently, in a study by the Ecology Center, the new car smell is the result of "a cocktail" of hundreds of toxic chemicals in a new car that "off gas" in small, confined spaces. For the record, shortly after we bought our last new car, the new car smell went away after my husband "off gassed" his own cocktail of toxic chemicals.

In all seriousness, the toxicity is the result of flame retardants and PVC plastic. The problem is that BFRs (brominated flame retardants) have been tied to thyroid problems, among other conditions, and some of the chemicals in PVC can cause issues with liver, testes, thyroid, ovaries, kidneys, and blood.

So does this mean you shouldn't buy new cars?

The Ecology Center doesn't make a recommendation. But I can offer you a few thoughts. If you have thyroid issues, are pregnant, or suffer from any of the conditions mentioned above, you probably should see your doctor before spending too much time in new cars. Even if that's not the case, and you're somewhat concerned about your new car smell exposure, consider opening the windows and letting that new car smell air out.

And, for the record, you probably aren't fooling anyone with that new car smell spray (and who knows what they put in that stuff). If you want to smell something wonderful, go bake some cinnamon buns. Just don't eat too many at once, or you'll get a tummy ache!

Topic: Tech Industry


Denise Amrich is a Registered Nurse, the health care advisor for the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, and a mentor for the Virtual Campus at Florida's Brevard Community College.

Nothing in this article is meant to be a substitute for medical advice, and shouldn't be considered as such. If you are in need of medical help, please see your doctor.

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  • RE: Is nothing sacred? Now new car smell is bad for you.

    I love the comment about your husband's own toxic gasses. That's why when I bought my new car 4 years ago that "new car smell" lasted maybe a week.

    I just bought my wife a new car for her birthday! Crap...I better pass this along to her so her ovaries don't explode or something crazy like that.

    With that said, I hate it when these people come out with their "findings" and complain about it but have no solution about it! What if NASA had done that to the Apollo 13 crew? "Yeah we see the side is blown off...WHO IS TO BLAME HERE!" then just left them up there to drift into space. They the contrary, if you read about how NASA got those men back alive, they acknowledge the problem and presented viable solutions to fix the problem (literally putting a square into a circle). So to the Ecological whatever...come up with a solution about this new car smell! Don't just tell us is something about it so the car makers can change whatever they are doing to poison us!

    Enough said...

    • Don't hold your breath

      After all, the health authoities have not banned the cigarettes that have their own added cocktail of carcinogens and other poisons, quite apart from the tobacco itself.

      If they were really concerned about citizens health, they would force the removal of the crap from the tobacco.

      Of course, we now have 1 in 2 people getting cancer, thanks to the blind eye of our health authorities. Whenever in past years was 1 in 2 cancer risk a possibility, but charities are asking for money so they can research the 'problem' when it is obvious that most of the stuff added to our foods (if there is any actual 'food' in them) is killing us for our eating pleasure, let alone what they add to our clothes (formalehyde) and other non-foods just to give the impression of a new, fresh look.
  • I knew it would be Toxic

    If you think about it, it must be. All that plastic, glue, flame retardants, paint, spill protection on the upholstery, etc. But too bad. Everything is bad for you these days. So might as well enjoy it - we will all end up with some dread disease from some thing and die anyway.
  • I keep a pack of mint gum...

    in the car. For some reason, it makes the car smell minty.
  • Real victims

    What about delivery drivers, and those who work driving new vehicles on and off delivery ships?
    H & S at work regs?
    And is PVC still used in cars??

    Good article thanks
    • RE: Is nothing sacred? Now new car smell is bad for you.

      @Ross44 This. Somehow I don't think the normal consumer has much to worry about. Sure, we all love that new car smell, but we're really only exposed for a tiny amount of time. It's the people that are in contact with it all the time (factory workers, auto dealers and the like) that are in danger. It's like the toxic fumes of butter flavored popcorn. It's the constant exposure that does nasty stuff. I'm not going to get cancer because I smoked a single cigarette in my life.
  • RE: Is nothing sacred? Now new car smell is bad for you.

    Since when is this new information. I thought this was common knowledge that it was toxic chemicals off gassing.
  • RE: Is nothing sacred? Now new car smell is bad for you.

    Any chemical is toxic in enough quantity, even water. Somehow I don't think the micrograms that make up new car smell inside one new car are going to turn your insides into sludge ...
    terry flores
    • Not necessarily

      @terry flores ... if you think there are explosive substances that can blow a safe open in minuscule quantities .. or that there are poisons that exist which can kill an adult in the order of fractions of a gram (..count it, micrograms), it might be wise not to discard this particular warning.<br><br>... besides i like the idea of second hand cars ... just not too second hand or old - or ex-Mob cars. I mean, trying to explain a blood stained boot would have to be [i]"kinda tricky"[/i] to explain away to a police officer when you get pulled over for a regulation, warrant & registration check.
  • ..and this is news??

    Did anyone ever inhale a lungful of obviously synthetic gases in their new car and think "Mmmmm....this is so healthy for me!" ?? And God help you if you get into your new car after it's been closed up for a few hours on a hot summer's day -- it's 10 times worse (speaking figuratively...).
  • What is a pleasant odor?

    Never have liked "new car smell" and never understood why others do. For a vehicle I prefer no smell so I can smell what is in the car or outside if the windows are down.<br><br>But then again I'm a strange one and am turned off by the smells of chemicals, fatty foods, perfume on top of rancid body oils, room fresheners, etc.
  • RE: Is nothing sacred? Now new car smell is bad for you.

    Quick, America! Everybody climb into your bubbles! Everyday life is hazardous to our health!
  • nice

    Such kind of interesting stuff should be shared on the web so all buyers and sellers will be aware of used cars industry. If you are going to buy or sell a car it is recommended that you should read some stuff on the web.
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