Issue Date: March 12, 2007
Hot Car Air Passes Toxicity Tests
Synthetic materials in car interiors emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to the familiar "new car smell." But even an uncomfortably hot car parked in the sun doesn't develop hazardous interior air quality, according to Jeroen T. M. Buters of the Technical University of Munich, in Germany, and colleagues (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2007, 41, 2569). The researchers tested two cars with identical interiors and exteriors, one brand-new and the other three years old. They simulated parking in the sun by using halogen lamps and maintained a temperature of 65 ??C inside the cars throughout their experiments. Interior air samples analyzed by GC-MS found that the new and used cars emitted 10.9 and 1.2 mg/m3 of VOCs, respectively, and that the array of compounds observed differed between the cars. The researchers tested extracts from air samples on human primary keratinocytes and human and Chinese hamster lung cells, as well as for two types of immune response. No direct toxicity was observed in the assays, but they expect allergic individuals would experience a slightly increased immunoglobulin (IgE) response under the test conditions.
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