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Study suggests car seat foam may release cancer-causing chemicals



A recent study published by the American Chemical Society has raised concerns about a flame-retardant chemical called tris (1-chloro-isopropyl) phosphate (TCIPP) found in the air of car cabins. This chemical is commonly used in polyurethane foam, which is used in vehicle seats. The study, which involved 155 participants driving vehicles from 2015 or newer, found that 99 percent of vehicles showed traces of TCIPP in the air, with concentrations being higher in warmer temperatures. While the quantity of TCIPP found was small, a 2023 toxicology report found possible carcinogenic connections between TCIPP and rats, raising concerns about the potential health risks associated with exposure.

The study’s findings have led researchers to call for further evaluation of the effects of flame retardant chemicals, as the automotive industry is considered an “understudied source” when it comes to the exposure of such chemicals. With the average American spending an hour a day in a car, the concentrated environment of a vehicle can be exacerbated by warmer temperatures. The study recommends opening windows when parked outside to reduce interior temperatures and promote better airflow, as well as using air conditioning and avoiding the interior recirculation setting. These measures may help reduce exposure to TCIPP and other potentially harmful chemicals present in vehicle cabins.

Despite the small quantities of TCIPP found in car cabins, the study highlights the need for further research to fully understand the scope of potential dangers associated with exposure to flame retardant chemicals in automobiles. Given the possible carcinogenic connections found in toxicology reports with regard to TCIPP, even small exposures could pose a risk to drivers and passengers. As such, it is important for both researchers and industry professionals to continue studying the effects of flame retardant chemicals in vehicles and to implement measures that can help mitigate exposure and reduce potential health risks for individuals.

In conclusion, the study’s findings shed light on the presence of TCIPP in car cabins and the potential health risks associated with exposure to this flame-retardant chemical. While the quantities of TCIPP found were small, the study’s recommendation to open windows when parked outside and to use air conditioning with proper ventilation can help reduce exposure to harmful chemicals in vehicle interiors. Further research is needed to fully understand the scope of risks associated with flame retardant chemicals in automobiles and to develop strategies to minimize exposure and promote safer driving environments for all individuals. By raising awareness about potential risks and taking proactive measures to reduce exposure, drivers and passengers can help protect their health and well-being while on the road.

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