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Are Toxins Lurking in Your Car Interior?

Published Sep 28th 2007, 8:26pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

I’m a born skeptic. What do you expect? I’m originally from the Show-Me state. We don’t believe what we’re told. We must be shown. So when I heard about interior car toxins and a product that claims to reduce them, I had to do my own research.

ToxinsLast year, the Ecology Center released a study about car interior toxins. Besides carbon monoxide emissions, I wasn’t sure what they meant by that. But after reading a bit of their press release I found out. Their report says that PBDEs, chemicals used for fire retardants, and phthalates, used to soften plastics and part of that “new car smell” people seem to love, are found inside your car. And guess what? The chemicals are clinging to the dust in your interior and clamoring for space on your windshield — in the form of that film you can’t quite get rid of unless you’re parked “just so” in the sunlight and are willing to climb around the inside of your car like a monkey to get every nook and cranny sparkling clean.

These chemicals, according to the Ecology Center, have been linked to birth defects, liver toxicity, impaired hearing, and premature births in lab animals. They are more dangerous in a hot car, because the heat draws them out faster. And I always thought that film on my windshield was from my car shade and just an annoyance in bright sunlight — not a health hazard to my family!

But here’s where my skepticism kicks in: I’ve never heard of the Ecology Center. And every search I did on car interior toxins came up with the same report from the Ecology Center. Even if it was picked up by CNN’s site, I’m still not certain of its veracity. I would need to see some additional collaborating evidence to convince me that this is a big deal and that their study is reputable and accurate.

Windshield Having said that, there is a product on the market that claims to help reduce these toxins by cleaning your windshield so well that the chemicals can’t stick to your glass, thereby reducing the amount of toxins in your car interior. If the toxins can’t cling, they will leave when you air out your car, correct? That’s the theory.

Glare-X-Plus claims to be the only safe product on the market that helps permanently remove film buildup on your windshield. It’s also biodegradable and organic. So, does it work? I haven’t tried it. First, I don’t drive a brand new car. Second, like I said, I’m a skeptic. I would need some more information from independent sources.

If you’re a mom and you’re worried about your children's exposure to the chemicals used to manufacture car interiors, you may want to check this product out, especially since it claims to help get rid of nighttime windshield glare. Do your research and decide for yourself if this product is right for you. That’s all any savvy shopper can really do.

Windshield photo courtesy of spcummings.

Becky_headshot By Becky Scott
Contributing Editor


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