The "new car smell" that car salespeople love to wax lyrical about may actually be harmful for your health, a new study has shown.
International researchers looked at the air inside new cars parked outside for 12 straight days, showing it contained high levels of chemicals linked to cancer, such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
The joint peer-reviewed study - by China's Beijing Institute of Technology and Harvard University in the US - found the level of chemicals in the air of new cars exceeded China's national standard for air quality in passenger cars.
Research to date has generally focused on the impact of air temperature when measuring the amount of chemical compounds released, but this study found the surface temperature of materials in the car had the biggest impact. The main materials in the car included plastic, imitation leather and woven cloth or felt.
That "new car smell" may not be very good for you at all.
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While tests on new cars are generally conducted in a laboratory setting, this study was carried out in real-world conditions. "These findings will be helpful for vehicle designers in selecting appropriate in-cabin materials with lower potential emissions to achieve effective source control and thus improve in-cabin air quality," the study said.