N’@Busters! Toxic Benzene from Your Car’s Interior?

I got yet another dubious email today, once again concerning the health risks surrounding technology.  This time though, death comes not from your car but from your car’s air conditioning.

The subject blares: CAR AIR-CONDITIONING – VERY IMPORTANT! and then proceeds to claim, without even a hint of evidence, that

…the car dashboard, seats and air freshener emit Benzene, a Cancer causing toxin…If parked outdoors under the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F, the Benzene level goes up to 2000-4000 mg, 40 times the acceptable level.

In fact-checking this one, I found another mix of truth and fiction.

Yes, benzene is bad for you.  Very bad.  As in kill you bad.  It’s an additive that can be found in car emissions, gas stations, industrial smog, glues , and especially cigarette smoke.

However one researcher pointed out that studies have shown much lower levels of benzene in car interiors, usually around 10-20 µg (that’s micrograms – I’m assuming that the email meant micrograms and not milligrams) and up to 150 µg in dense urban travel.

So it would appear that smoking is more hazardous to you than your car’s interior, and anyone could have told you that!


Posted on June 11, 2011, in tech myths. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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