Study reveals people are inhaling cancer-causing chemicals inside their cars

Study reveals people are inhaling cancer-causing chemicals inside their cars

Study reveals people are inhaling cancer-causing chemicals inside their cars

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A recent study has unveiled a concerning reality: people are inadvertently breathing in cancer-causing chemicals while inside their vehicles. Published in Environmental Science & Technology, the research analyzed the cabin air of 101 electric, gas, and hybrid cars manufactured between 2015 and 2022.

The findings are alarming, indicating that 99% of the cars examined contained a flame retardant known as TCIPP, currently under investigation by the US National Toxicology Program for its potential carcinogenic properties. Additionally, most vehicles also harbored two other carcinogenic flame retardants, TDCIPP and TCEP, which have been linked to neurological and reproductive harm.

Lead researcher Rebecca Hoehn, a toxicology scientist at Duke University, emphasized the gravity of the issue, particularly for individuals with longer commutes and child passengers, who are more vulnerable due to increased inhalation. She highlighted that the levels of toxic flame retardants were highest during the summer, attributing this to heat-induced chemical release from car materials.

The source of these cancer-causing compounds in the cabin air was identified as seat foam. Car manufacturers incorporate these chemicals into seat foam and other materials to comply with an outdated flammability standard, despite lacking evidence of significant fire-safety benefits, the researchers explained.

Patrick Morrison from the International Association of Fire Fighters echoed concerns, stating that flame retardants contribute to high cancer rates among firefighters. He urged the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to revise flammability standards to eliminate flame retardant chemicals from vehicles.

The study authors stressed that these toxic flame retardants offer no tangible benefits inside vehicles. They suggested practical measures to reduce exposure, such as opening car windows and parking in shaded areas or garages. However, they emphasized the urgent need to minimize the addition of flame retardants to cars, asserting that commuting and travel should not pose a cancer risk to individuals or harm children’s health.