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Mass. Legislature Ponders Toxins in that "New Car Smell"

July 23, 2008

Boston, MA - Could that new-car smell make you sick? A recent report by the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow & the Ecology Center, says cars can contain chlorine, bromine, lead and heavy metals that have been linked to cancer, liver disease and birth defects. Perhaps even worse, the study says the same chemicals also are used to manufacture children's booster seats.

State Representative Paul Donato, Medford, is co-sponsoring a bill on Beacon Hill that would require manufacturers to use less-hazardous alternatives. He says it would also help consumers know what they're breathing inside their cars.

"People don't realize the toxins that are emanating from inside the automobile, and this bill will do much to educate the public."

Since booster seats are required in Massachusetts, parents need to know if the chemicals they're made from are a danger to children's health, Donato contends.

"Even though we have laws requiring children to be in car seats for their safety, it's incumbent upon us as legislators to let the public know that some of those car seats are emitting toxins that are harmful to the children."

The groups studied "out-gassing" in over 200 popular car makes and models, and more than 60 children's car seats. Manufacturers say alternative ingredients are costly and the harm has not been proven, even though one of the toxins is lead.

The study's findings are available at www.Healthycar.org.

John Robinson/Steve Powers, Public News Service - MA