New-Car Smell Won't Kill You as Much, Group Finds

July 29, 2008
An Ann Arbor, Mich.-based environmental group says your vehicle's "new-car smell" is less likely to cause you harm this year, but it still is essentially made up of toxic gases masked by the fragrant, earthy smell of capitalism.

The Ecology Center's annual report on new-car smell puts the Acura RDX at the top of its list for least-toxic new-car smell--which it says contains poisons linked to allergies and cancer. The RDX (see chart below) has a ranking of 0.6 on the group's concern scale, while a whopper like the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GT (their spelling incorrect) tops the charts at 4.7. We're not sure what units they're measuring, but in proportion, the Mitsu's about eight times worse than the Acura.

Of all automakers, GM made the biggest improvements in cutting back on toxic materials, and Mazda and Nissan did a pretty good job, too.

The Ecology Center says new-car smell is composed of chlorine, lead, and flame retardants, all bad stuff that can cause a host of immune problems. It also says the same chemicals are present in child car seats.

To conclude, the group's rankings of the top ten and worst ten vehicles--here for you in handy chart form:

HealthyCar.Org chart

HealthyCar.Org chart

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