Car makers lauded in US for reducing toxic plastic
15 November 2006 16:39 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--An environmental group praised Ford, Honda and ?xml:namespace>Toyota on Wednesday for using non-toxic plastic materials for indoor automobile parts.
The Ecology Center is an Ann Arbor, Michigan group that monitors the use of toxic chemicals in cars. It cited industry estimates that the average vehicle has 250 lbs of plastics, much of it for interior parts such as seat cushions and dashboards that can emit harmful off-gas.
In an annual report, it gave B grades to Toyota, DaimlerChrysler and Ford for their use of bio-based materials; a B to Ford and Cs to Toyota and Nissan for interior air quality; and a B to Honda and Cs to Hyundai and Toyota for reduction of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) use.
The group said automakers are using more bio-based plastics. It said Toyota is developing an “eco plastic” made from sugar cane or corn. DaimlerChrysler has increased the use of renewable materials in some vehicles by up to 98% by using natural materials such as flax and abaca fibres. Ford has will soon begin using a bio-fabric for seating.
The Ecology Center said some automakers are improving indoor air quality, reducing plastics that contribute to the “new car smell.” It said four Ford vehicles meet an allergy-free standard. Toyota has a goal to reduce in-cabin volatile organic compound (VOC) levels in all vehicles globally by 2010. Honda and Nissan are also reducing in-cabin VOC’s to meet a Japanese Auto Manufacturers Association standard.
The group said Honda has eliminated the use of PVCs from most applications across its North American product lines. Hyundai, Toyota and DaimlerChrysler have replaced some indoor auto parts with PVC-free alternatives in certain vehicle lines.
Overall, the Ecology Center ranked Toyota C+, Ford C, Honda C, DaimlerChrysler D+, General Motors D, Hyundai D, Nissan D and Volkswagen D-. Together those manufacturers account for 94% of US vehicle sales.By: Patrick Crow+1 713 525 2653
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