Study finds cancer-causing chemicals may be emitted from car seat foam

99% of Cars Test Positive for Carcinogenic Flame Retardant in Air Study

Driving a car involves certain risks, but typically just breathing while behind the wheel isn’t one of them. However, a recent study released by the American Chemical Society suggests that this may not be entirely true. The study highlights a particular flame-retardant substance found in car seat materials that has been detected in the air inside car cabins. Inhaling this chemical could potentially raise the risk of developing cancer.

The substance under scrutiny is tris (1-chloro-isopropyl) phosphate, also known as TCIPP. This chemical is often added as a flame-retardant in polyurethane foam, which is widely utilized for seating in most vehicles currently in circulation. The research involved 155 individuals operating cars manufactured in 2015 or later. In order to investigate possible variations linked to temperature, 101 trials were carried out during winter while 54 were conducted in the summer.

The findings were quite clear-cut. Nearly 99 percent of vehicles displayed evidence of TCIPP in the atmosphere, which correlated with samples taken from seat foam containing the additive. Warmer temperatures increased the concentration of airborne TCIPP, reaching levels two to five times higher. Essentially, heat facilitates the release of the chemical from the seats, leading to more of it being dispersed in the air.

How significant is the quantity of TCIPP being discussed? According to the research, levels range from 0.2 up to 11,600 nanograms per gram. Considering that one nanogram is equal to one billionth of a gram, these amounts are extremely minuscule. However, a recent toxicology study conducted in 2023 revealed potential links to cancer in rats when exposed to TCIPP. Therefore, even minimal contact could pose risks.

The study aims to establish the extent of the effects of flame retardant chemicals. While these chemicals have been studied in different scenarios, researchers note that their impact in the automotive sector is not well-researched. According to AAA, the average American driver spends an hour daily in a car, and this enclosed space can become even more problematic in hot weather. The study suggests that opening windows when parked outside can lower interior temperatures and improve airflow. Additionally, using air conditioning and refraining from using the interior recirculation setting are also recommended strategies.

In the end, the research suggests that further assessment is necessary to completely grasp the extent of possible risks associated with TCIPP in cars.

Source: Environmental Science & Technology via People

1 Comment

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