That New Car Smell Can Kill You and Your Kids

Do you like that 'new car smell.' That “new car smell” might be composed of all kinds of toxic chemicals, according to a new study from a nonprofit organization called the ecology center. This study suggests that new car smell comes from toxic chemicals off-gassing in a car’s interior, like brominated flame retardants (BFRs), chromium, and lead. In all, researchers identified more than 275 different chemicals wafting around in the car. Many of these toxic chemicals, breathed in by you and your kids are associated with learning problems, birth defects, liver problems and of course – cancer!

The 2012 new vehicle study from the nonprofit Ecology Center analyzed the chemical content of more than 200 new cars for its top 10 healthy and unhealthy car interiors. The 2012 Honda Civic had the healthiest interior but that was because it did not have any PVC fabrics or trims or bromine-based flame retardants.

The worst new cars, when it comes to off-gassing, are the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and 2011 Chrysler 200 SC, which both had high-levels of chemicals in them. These would be cars to avoid if you want to keep your children healthy.

So where do these poisons and toxins lurk inside the actual vehicle? Common areas that off gas are seats, arm rests, steering wheels, door trim, and shift knobs. The higher the temperature in the car the more chemicals it is going to release into the air. Chemicals found in some cars include chemical elements such as lead, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic, mercury, tin, and antimony. All of these chemicals can be absorbed through the skin and through the air.

The EPA says indoor air pollution is one of the top environmental threats to public health, since Americans spend 90% of their time indoors and indoor air pollution can be inside your car! Next to homes and offices, Americans spend the most time in automobiles, an average of one-and-a-half hours per day.

So it seems that if you are going to buy a car try to by one that does not smell so much like a new car as that would be an indication that it is going to break down less volatile compounds as time goes on. The smell would in fact, be an indication that you are about to buy a toxic vehicle. It is much better for you to stick to buying a vehicle that has been reported to have less off-gassing potential.

Ethical Products for Kids

More and more people are becoming concerned about the environment and how what we buy affects it. This includes kid's toys.

If you are looking to buy building blocks that are made out of recycled packaging then look at the option of buying You Play Box. These are components that are made out of used yogurt containers. The single serving plastic containers have been designed so that they can be locked and snapped together to create different things such as cars.

Another green item is the Eco Friendly Cardboard furniture that is made by Metrocs. This furniture is also interlockable and folds up into blocks that can be stowed away. This environmental furniture is not new. It was originally designed in 1965 by Riki Watanabe and it has recently been revived for sale by the Metropolitan Gallery in Tokyo. This is furniture was inspired by origami and is made completely out of folded paper. It is safe because it does not have adhesives or nails. Once assembled the chairs are so strong they can also support the weight of an adult.

You can also now buy Pre-Fab playhouses that are made out of recycle wood, plastic and canvas. Kiddo Cabana is an example of a designer making this type of play shelter. Some of the styles of these eco-playhouses include windows, shelves for serving lemonade to outsiders and built-in tables on the inside. You can custom order one of these Owls to be made from of your old blankets or sweaters from the green artisans at Night Owl Paper Goods.

The Eco-friendly Orbit Baby System is an earth smart stroller made out of recycled fabric and PVC –free rain shields. However it also has a neat aspect to it because the actual crib on it can be twisted and lifted so that it rolls 360 degrees. It also lifts out of the stroller and turns into a car seat.

Another interesting toy I have run across lately is the NightOwl Paper Godos Owl Plushie. This is a little soft statue of an Owl that is made entirely from recycled paper and repurposed sweaters from thrift stores. They eyes are made from old book pages and wooden pegs.

Another nifty eco product is the Transformer Bunny Bags. These are big nylon totes by the company Picnica that can be manipulated so that it turns into a giant stuffed bunny.

As a mom I can't help but marvel at what a wonderful time we live in that we can be offered so many great products to help us take care of our kids while at the same time taking care of the earth!