N’@Busters! More Ways Your Car can Kill You (Indirectly)

Apparently the interior of your car is one of the most hostile, toxic environments on earth, at least according to the emails I’ve been getting.  Last time it was toxic benzene, supposedly leaching out from heated car interiors.  This time it’s dioxin, a cancer causing agent, leaching out from plastic water bottles left in hot car interiors.

This one at least sounds more plausible.  Here’s how it goes:

Bottled water in your car is very dangerous!

On the Ellen show, Sheryl Crow said that this is what caused her breast cancer. 

It has been identified as the most common cause of the high levels of dioxin in breast cancer tissue.

Sheryl Crow’s oncologist told her:women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.

So after you’re done inhaling benzene from your car’s superheated interior, you try and cool down with a nice warm bottle of more carcinogens.  I’m surprised the mall parking lot isn’t filled with corpses clutching a steaming bottle of Evian.

Again, dioxin is bad stuff.  It’s a very toxic pollutant, most often accompanying incinerators and heavy manufacturing.  A quick search claims dioxin is one of “the most toxic chemicals known to science” and yes, it is a cancer hazard.  This would lend credence to the above warning.  The fact that Sheryl Crow had cancer also makes this seem true on the surface.

However, digging a little deeper revealed that there were no dioxins in plastic water bottles as well as for plastic containers used for microwave-safe plastic containers.  And no, Sheryl Crow never mentioned anything about plastic bottles as the source for her cancer.

So once again, this is a case of a real problem blown to incredible proportions.  But is there any cause for concern at all for plastics and dioxin?  Yes, but it’s minimal.  Microwaving foods in plastics that aren’t approved for microwaving can lead to chemicals leaching out, but dioxin won’t be one of them.  Other chemicals called phthalates can mimic hormones and cause health concerns.  As one Johns Hopkins researcher stated, “people should be more concerned about the quality of the water they are drinking rather than the container it’s coming from.”




Posted on June 30, 2011, in tech myths. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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