An e-mail message that may have come into your inbox recently claims that dangerous levels of a cancer-causing chemical (benzene) are released from the plastic surfaces of automobile interiors. The e-mail recommends opening the vehicle’s windows to remove the benzene before using the air conditioner.
Although benzene is linked to leukemia, very little research has looked at whether the interior surfaces of cars release dangerous amounts of benzene, and the information that is available does not support the e-mail’s claims. [more]
Let’s break the message down and compare the claims with the facts.
Here is the e-mail message (this links to snopes.com, which is not affiliated with cancer.org or ACS)
And here’s a point-by-point comparison of the claims and the facts:
Claim: My car’s manual says to roll down the windows to let out all the hot air before turning on the A/C. WHY?
Fact: On a sunny day, the temperature in a parked car can be more than 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) higher than the outside air. Opening the windows is the fastest way to exchange the hot interior air with the cooler outside air. Once that is done, the air conditioner can make the interior cooler than the outside air.… Continue reading →