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Blog/Opinion: What can be done about VOCs from new car interiors?

By HHI Staff

Bringing in more fresh air is the simplest intervention. According to Dr. Jules Elkins, University of Texas-Austin, who teaches environmental health at UT Austin:


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There are many potentially unhealthy chemicals in the interior of a car, some worse than others. A report by The Ecology Center gives advice.


Fresh air is your best option. That said, there are a number of other steps that can also help:

  • First, some chemicals have an offgassing profile that is dramatically increased with heat. So you can leave your car in the sun or leave the heat on. Ventilation helps the chemicals move out of the car before they are reabsorbed so leave the windows open an inch or two. Once done, air the car thoroughly. After airing, clean surfaces with a microfiber cloth and a tolerated less-toxic cleaner. This is a process you can repeat for the first 6 months, and this will help.
  • Second, you can use chemical absorbers. Good choices are baking soda or zeolite, but change them often.
  • Third, since cars never offgas completely, air purifiers combining HEPA filters and activated charcoal made especially for automobiles can help reduce exposure to ongoing interior chemical emissions.


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HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


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(Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)

What can be done about VOCs from new car interiors?:  Created on September 30th, 2014.  Last Modified on September 30th, 2014


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