Buy Used: Study Suggests New Car Smell Could Cause Cancer

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Because we can’t have anything nice, a study has suggested that new car smell could lead to cancer.

Scientists from Harvard University — ever heard of it? — and the Beijing Institute of Technology, teamed up to see if new car smell could pose health risks, and published their findings in the journal, Cell Reports Physical Science.

Their methods were scientific: they got a bunch of new cars and parked them outside for about two weeks. Inside each car were sensors detecting the amounts of certain chemicals in the air.

They found that the chemical levels — including high levels of Formaldehyde and other carcinogens — inside these cars exceeded China’s safety standards.

Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen photos of the smog that sits around major cities in China. but if they’re concerned about the air quality, there’s a problem.

Researchers say that just 30 minutes a day exposed to these chemicals in the amounts they were found can lead to risk.

“These observations increase our understanding of in-cabin chemical transport and emission mechanisms,” the researchers wrote in their report.

Translation: New car smell bad.

Family car shopping
A family looks at a new car while the father inexplicably rubs the window weather stripping. (Getty Images)

New Car Smell Isn’t As Good As A Neutral Car Smell

Alright. I’ve got to be honest: I’m not a huge fan of new car smell

Now I’ve never felt more vindicated in my life.

New car smell has always kind of given me a headache. I always assumed something like this was at play and figured some chemicals from the manufacturing process had hung around. That explains why every car’s odor is more or less the same when it’s brand new.

New car smell is on one end of the car odor spectrum while lingering fast food is on the other. There’s nothing worse than getting in a hot car and being punched in the face by the stink of yesterday’s Arby’s beef ‘n cheddar.

This is why, when it comes to car smell, I want my vehicle to be as close to neutral as possible. I want anyone hopping inside my 2022 Kia Forte (*holds for applause*) to notice — if anything — an absence of smell.

The only reactions should be no reaction, or “Dude, I can’t believe how much your car smells like nothing.”

That’s the car smell sweet spot.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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