Did you know that harmful toxins and chemicals can affect you when you climb into your car, especially when it has been parked in the sun? The main problem is the emission of Benzene.
There are a number of ill health effects relating to Benzene exposure, some of which are painful or uncomfortable and others that can be deadly. Moderate to high levels of Benzene exposure can lead to: rapid heart rate; headaches
; dizziness; confusion; drowsiness; unconsciousness; vomiting; or convulsions.
The more serious risk factor for those exposed to high levels of Benzene is cancer, and most notably, leukemia.
Here are some the interesting but worrying statistics
- Benzene is the most common and widely used hazardous chemical of all. However, this substance is found naturally occurring in the environment (as a component of crude oil) and so most people are exposed to Benzene to a limited degree.
- Benzene comes in the form of a clear liquid, which has a sweet, distinctive odor.
- Benzene is a constituent of tobacco smoke where it can be found in fairly high levels, which many people breathe-in either actively or passively every day.
- Many manufactured goods contain benzene which is used as a solvent. So you will find this toxin in plastics, synthetic fibers, dyes, rubber, resin, paint, glues, detergents and drugs. The dashboard, seats and the air conditioning unit in a car will all most certainly contain Benzene.
- If your car is parked in the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F, the emission of Benzene and other toxins can build up to as much as 40 times the acceptable or safe level of these toxins. I would point out here that the World Health Organization maintains that there is "no safe level of exposure" to the carcinogen Benzene.
- Drivers and passengers who get into a car but keep the windows closed, and start up the air conditioning immediately, can inhale excessive amounts of the toxins including benzene.
So what should you do to avoid this?
Open all the windows as soon as you get in (weather permitting) for a couple of minutes to ventilate the car and only then turn on the air conditioning if needed. At the same time, be aware that if you are in a highly polluted area or one with a high volume of traffic, you may need to weigh up whether the air is more polluted inside or outside the car and act accordingly. You can be between the devil and the deep blue sea in such a situation.
If you have a car that is several years old, then the problem of toxins being given off by your car should largely have disappeared over time.
The dangers of Benzene are more widely recognized today than they were in previous years, and for some people this increased awareness comes too late. The sad situation is that people have already suffered the effects of Benzene exposure, and many have either died or suffered serious harm and injury from prolonged, regular exposure to this chemical.