Here's an article from USA Today for those of you who have to have a new car every other year. Turns out that "new car smell" that so many people love can be bad for you. Here's the summary:
Anyone who's pulled away from the dealer's lot in a shiny, new car knows the seductive scent of fresh plastic, paint and upholstery that evokes a rush of pride and consumer satisfaction.
But that unmistakable new-car smell may soon be heading the way of the rumble seat: Recent research linking it to a toxic cocktail of harmful chemicals is spurring efforts by Japanese automakers to tone down the fumes.
Japanese manufacturers have become the first to set an industrywide goal of reducing cabin concentrations to within government guidelines. The push could spur similar action by U.S. and European rivals, making interior air quality an emerging auto safety issue.
So what's the big deal anyway? Turns out that the smell is from chemicals that are not family-friendly:
The new-car smell emanates largely from chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that leach from glues, paints, vinyls and plastics in the passenger compartment. The fumes can trigger headaches, sore throats, nausea and drowsiness. Prolonged exposure to some of the chemicals can lead to cancer, though there's no evidence linking that to concentrations in cars.
Critics liken the problem to so-called sick-building syndrome, which traces some illnesses to similar agents seeping from walls, carpet and fixtures of new buildings.
Just sitting in a new car can subject riders to toxic emissions several times the limits deemed safe for homes or offices by some health authorities, though the problem tends to dissipate after about six months, according to a 2001 study by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
And for those of you who love the smell, there is another option:
While some customers complain about the new-car smell, others cherish it enough to have spawned a cottage industry in aerosol "new-car sprays" to keep their rides smelling fresh from the factory.
Personally, I like a "new car smell". There's just something about it. But I can certainly take a pass on it if it does what they say. It's not that special.