Cars

Think Before You Buy: 10 Most Toxic Cars

Image Source: autoguide.com

After buying a vehicle, do you attempt to maintain that precious new-car scent for as long as possible? If so, you might want to rethink your ways. Read on and you will know which cars have the best health and environmental ratings

According to the Ecology Center, a regional leader that works for a safe and healthy environment, new study shows that the “good smell” in most cars is actually the scent of toxic chemicals, such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants). These chemicals can be found on the steering wheel, dashboard, armrests, and seats. They are also used to make plastics flexible and interiors fire-proof, and have been linked to numerous health problems including allergies, birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer.

Cars can be bad for your health, and not just because of the stuff that comes out of the tailpipe. The Ecology Center has published a list of the least and most toxic vehicles from 2011-2012 after testing 205 different models with the aid of an x-ray fluorescence analyzer to find out which chemicals and in what amounts are used in cars. The tests consisted of scanning interior components such as the seats, dashboard, carpets, headliner, and door trim, and identifying the elements in each material. Based on the size of the item and the amount of contact a person would have with it, the numbers were crunched and the car given a score on a scale of one to five. A low score means the chemicals being tested for weren’t detected, while a five would indicate that high levels of the chemicals were detected. Items that were commonly detected and found in car components include elements like bromine, chlorine, antimony, mercury, and lead.

The following have been cited by Ecology Center as the most toxic cars:

01. 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander SP
02. 2011 Chrysler 200 SC
03. 2011 Kia Soul
04. 2011 Nissan Versa
05. 2011 Mazda CX-7
06. 2012 Hyundai Accent
07. 2011 Chevy Aveo5
08. 2011 Kia Sportage
09. 2012 VW Eos
2012 Mini Cooper S. Clubman

During the investigation, the researchers identified numerous chemicals in the interior components of many different cars. However, at least some players in the automotive industry have been working to make significant changes recently.  As a result, almost 17% of new cars are made without PVC and other chemicals that can be harmful to health and the environment. Among the manufacturers who have earned points by lowering their average scores were Volkswagen (42% improved); Mitsubishi, who has been ranked as number 1 (38% improved); and Ford (30% improved). Those that were worse than previous years were Daimler AG (down 29%) and Volvo (down 13%).  If you don’t want your loved ones to be in danger, rethink before you buy a new car; as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

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