His only stricture was I wasn't to blog about influenza. So what to blog about. Something different. Hmmm.
I drive a ten year old shitbox car I hate (I won't say what kind, other than that it is a 1995 Volvo 940 sedan). So I have been fantasizing about how nice it would be to have a brand new automo-thing.
Ahh, the "new car smell." Nothing else smells like it. Nothing except a mixture of volatile organic compounds ( VOCs) you wouldn't want in your drinking water or food (like the carcinogens formaldehyde and styrene). The VOCs come from plasticizers, glues, paints and other items in the car's interior. Some people complain they get headaches, sore throats, drowsiness and queasiness similar to symptoms of "sick building syndrome."
Just sitting in a new car can subject riders to toxic emissions several times the limits deemed safe for homes or offices by some health authorities, though the problem tends to dissipate after about six months, according to a 2001 study by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization."Ultimately" is already here if you buy a Japanese car. Japanese car makers are trying to reduce VOCs to the point the air in a car meets the standards for air in a building, and they are cutting levels of 13 compounds, including formaldehyde and styrene. The top makers like Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Mazda are now marketing cars touting the lower VOCs. Great if you buy a Japanese car. And the rest?
"We find new car interiors have much higher VOC levels than any building we've researched," research leader Steve Brown said. "Ultimately, what we need are cars with interior materials that produce lower emissions." (USA Today, byline Hans Greiml)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets no guidelines for volatile organic compounds in non-industrial settings, though formaldehyde is regulated as a carcinogen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.Oh. I see. They don't follow the issue. Just the Japanese follow the issue. Strange interests, those Japanese.
The Washington-based Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents nine carmakers including General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler, says it does not follow the issue of volatile organic compounds. DaimlerChrysler said it has no initiatives on the volatile organic compound-induced new-car fumes.