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Harmful chemicals in most new cars

By Cai Wenjun (Shanghai Daily)

08:54, January 06, 2012

Nearly 70 percent of new cars in the city contain high levels of harmful chemicals, mainly due to interior decoration, a survey released yesterday showed.

Among the 142 new cars checked by the Shanghai Environmental Protection Association, 98 had at least one poisonous chemical. The association checked five major pollutants - total volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, benzene, methylbenzene and dimethylbenzene.

Long-term exposure to any of them can harm the skin, nervous system, major organs or cause cancer.

Some 90 cars were detected with more TVOC than allowed under the nation's indoor air quality standard. A total of 34 cars were found to contain high levels of formaldehyde and 13 had dimethylbenzene.

Volatility of the chemicals rises with the temperature.

Experts suggest owners keep new cars well ventilated within six months to one year of purchase, especially in summer because more chemicals will be generated in hot weather.

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