Car interiors 'poisoning drivers'

EXCESSIVE levels of poisonous chemicals are found in the interiors of more than 70 percent of private cars in Shanghai, a local environmental protection association claimed yesterday.

Many interior fittings, particularly plastic components and glue, emit formaldehyde and benzene fumes that exceed standards, said Li Wei, secretary general of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Association.

Li said more than 90 percent of problems discovered by the association were caused by formaldehyde and benzene, with levels in some cases 10 times higher than China's indoor environment standard.

These poisonous chemicals can cause headaches, fatigue and vomiting.

"Many drivers contacted the association saying they had headaches after driving their cars for a long time," Li said.

Car interiors are also polluted by carbon monoxide and gasoline fumes from the engine, said Li.

Air-conditioning systems will also cause pollution if not cleaned for a long time, while metal engine parts may emit low levels of radiation, according to the investigation.

Many automakers do not inspect car interiors during factory testing, so many vehicles have problems when new, the association said.

A key problem is that China has no air quality standard especially for vehicles, Li said. The standard used is the one applied to apartments,

However, the standard should be higher for vehicles, because the space in vehicles is smaller, he claimed.

Nationwide, more than 65 percent of Chinese drivers are suffering from dizziness, fatigue and coughs because of interior air problems, said Song Guangsheng, director of the China Indoor Environment Test Center.

"The ailments could lead to traffic accidents," Song said, after the center recently checked 200 cars.

The Shanghai Environmental Protection Association is offering a free test to 100 motorists. Details in Chinese and English can be found on its website (


Popular posts from this blog

The business of running

Officials pledge to improve lives