Update: US chem council disputes toxic car report

22 July 2008 21:08  [Source: ICIS news]

(Adds ACC statements in paragraphs 1, 4-6)

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The American Chemistry Council (ACC) on Tuesday disputed claims by an environmental group that materials inside cars are health hazards.

The Ecology Center released a report ranking vehicles and children’s car seats by their amounts of “toxic chemicals”.

The organisation said it tested more than 200 2008- and 2009-model vehicles and over 60 children's car seats for chemicals such as bromine and chlorine that off-gas from parts such as the steering wheel, dashboard, armrests, seats, and carpet.

The ACC disputed the report.

“Consumers will be relieved to know that leading experts have recently reviewed the data and have reached exactly the opposite conclusion,” said Steve Russell, managing director of the ACC’s plastics division.

A 2007 study presented to the ACC showed there are “no indications for an apparent health hazard of parked motor vehicle indoor air,” Russell said.

Auto manufacturers including Mazda, General Motors and Nissan have improved their standings in the “toxic chemicals” ranking, the Ecology Center said.

 “General Motors, whose average vehicle ranking improved by 27%, showed the most improvement of the domestic automakers,” according to the Ecology Center’s "2nd Annual Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Cars and Children's Car Seats".

The Ecology Center said it tested the cars and child seats for chemicals such as bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and phthalates); lead; and heavy metals.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse, Suzuki Reno and the BMW 128 ranked among the “most toxic cars” while the Acura RDX and Smart Pure ranked among the least toxic, according to the group.

Average child car seat scores improved by 28% overall, the organisation said.

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By: Brian Ford
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