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Australian Scientists Warn of 'New-Car Illness'

December 19, 2001

Australian scientists have warned that the smell of a new car actually contains high levels of toxic air emissions which can make drivers ill, according to a Reuters report.The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's main scientific organization, found high levels of toxic emissions in cars for up to six months and longer after they leave the showroom."Just as air inside our homes and workplaces is often much more polluted than the air outside, so sitting in a new car can expose you to levels of toxic emissions many times beyond (health guideline) goals," said Steve Brown, head of the CSIRO's air quality control research unit.The toxic emissions include benzene, a cancer-causing toxin; acetone, a mucosal irritant; ethylbenzene, a systemic toxic agent; and xylene isomers, a foetal development toxic agent."To avoid some exposure to this toxic cocktail people who buy new cars should make sure there is plenty of outside air entering the vehicle while they drive for at least six months," Brown said in a statement.The two-year study of three new cars found anecdotal evidence that drivers were becoming ill when they drove their new cars.
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