The summer air has finally arrived! Many of us have been anxiously awaiting that warm touch on our skin and the fresh breeze in our hair. I can see you all now, taking your road trips with your family and friends, commuting with more ease and relaxation with the windows rolled down to catch the rays of light between working hours. How about sitting in a drive through waiting for a yummy ice cream cone (that is a trick question as you shouldn’t be eating a sugary treat like that 😉). Maybe you are even considering buying a new car to locomote in more style?
As wonderful as these all sound and feel emotionally, I would like to bring some caution around the air quality and help you find ways to bring awareness and protection to you and your loved ones. Whether you are considering buying a new car, recently own one (in the past 3 years) or simply drive with the intake air open or with your windows down in your car, you are being exposed to chemicals that are negatively impacting your health and especially your lungs. It may seem obvious that toxins are released from the tailpipes in front of you while driving, especially when you can see them fuming in the blazing heat, but have you thought about the toxins inside your actual car?
Some may like that “new car smell” while others may find they feel lightheaded, get headaches, feel general malaise, have mysterious coughs and generally feel ill yet aren’t sure why? It could very likely be your car!
The “oh so good” new car smell, should really be the “oh no it’s a toxic car smell”!!
Ozone, Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur and Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate Matter, Diesel and Benzene, oh my!
Outdoor air chemicals that may be affecting your health
Ozone can be “good” or “bad” for health and the environment depending on where it’s found in the atmosphere. Stratospheric ozone is “good” because it protects living things from ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Ground-level ozone, the topic of this website, is “bad” because it can trigger a variety of health problems, particularly for children, the elderly, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma.
Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur and Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate Matter, Diesel and Benzene *I have included links from the EPA on the gases, fumes and toxins that are released from car exhaust and their impact on your health below.
How to protect yourself from air pollution
Avoid sitting in car while idling
Pump gas in early morning or evening and stand away from the pump while fueling
Keep windows rolled up with air conditioner on (and your new HEPA filter in your car)
Never leave your car running in a confined space
Make sure your car is running efficiently and without any exhaust leaks
Monitor the Ozone level in your zip code and avoid being outside and exercising when high
Let’s talk about the “new car smell”
I have known about the toxic chemicals in cars for some time (which is why I drive an old car) but until now I didn’t really know what to suggest for my clients regarding how to protect themselves from these toxins besides take supplement and buy an infrared sauna. However, IQAir (my favorite air filter on the market and I have owned one for years for my home) has a car filter specifically to meet these specific needs. I am thrilled to educate you about this product and to give you other ways to protect yourself even if you don’t have a new car, but you are simply driving on our polluted streets.
Research shows that over 275 chemicals can be present inside your car at any given time, many of which are produced by interior materials, which contain toxic chemicals. Researchers have also found that it can take up to 3 years for “new car smell” toxins to drop below thresholds considered “safe” to breathe.
Vehicle interior air quality (VIAQ) – Indoor Air Quality on wheels
An emerging area of interest is gathering momentum amongst scientists, consumers, health advocates, vehicle manufacturers, and even legislators – vehicle interior air quality, or VIAQ.1
We spend around 8% of our day inside our vehicles, contributing to the roughly 90% of the time we spend indoors. Our cars are small, confined spaces that can have much higher pollutant concentrations that other indoor spaces. A movement addressing VIAQ is a natural progression extending from the growth in Indoor Air Quality concern.
Keep chemical cocktails out of the car
What is producing the alluring new car smell is a chemical cocktail emitted from parts and components in the interior of a vehicle. These interior parts include dashboards, seat coverings, flooring materials, carpeting, door trim, window sealant, arm rests, and many others. Indeed, most interior components are made with plastics, adhesives, fabrics, and other materials that “off-gas” chemicals ((think evaporation, but with chemicals instead of moisture).
Numerous studies have found that new vehicles typically have the highest concentrations of chemicals. Depending on the vehicle tested, researchers have consistently found between 30 and 250 types of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including several identified as potentially toxic to humans, including:
Benzene: Classified as a Group 1 carcinogen (“carcinogenic to humans”) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC. Used in the manufacturing of chemicals that are used to make products such as plastics and solvents, exposure to benzene has been associated with increased rates of leukemia, lymph cancer, and blood cancer. It is extremely dangerous when inhaled and exposure can also result in eye, nose, and throat irritation.
Formaldehyde (Group 1): Used in the production of adhesives that are then used in fiberboard and particle board. It is also found in foam insulation and textile finishing treatments. It has been associated with lung and nasopharyngeal cancers. It can also cause coughing, wheezing and chest pains, as well as eye, nose, and throat irritation.
Ethyl benzene (Group 2B - “possibly carcinogenic to humans”): Primarily used in the production of styrene. Exposure is associated with acute respiratory effects, such as throat irritation, irritation of the eyes, and neurological effects like dizziness.
Acetaldehyde (Group 2B): Irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. At higher exposure levels, erythema, coughing, pulmonary edema, and necrosis may also occur.
Styrene (Group 2B): produced from a combination of benzene and ethylene and is used to manufacture plastics, resins and synthetic rubbers. styrene can produce central nervous system symptoms such as decrease coordination and concentration and impairment of short-term memory. Styrene exposure can also produce irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, and the respiratory system, and can cause sleepiness or unconsciousness.
Toluene (Group 3 – not classifiable): Additive found in vehicle fuels, in paints, varnishes, and glues, as well as in the production of other chemicals. Toluene is classified in the European Union (EU) as a reproductive toxicant, and is also associated with many neurological effects, from muscle weakness, tremors, and impairment of speech. Dermal exposure to toluene can cause skin irritation and blistering.
Xylene (Group 3): Xylene serves as a solvent in paints and inks. It is also used in the production of plastics, leather, and rubber. Exposure to xylene may cause liver and kidney damage and can also result in dizziness, headache, or confusion. Skin contact with xylene can cause irritation and discoloration, as well as dryness, cracking, and blistering.
Studies find that VOC types and concentrations depend on many factors. It seems the most important include:2
The Journal Indoor and Built Environment reviewed more than 90 relevant studies performed across over 10 countries. Some of their key findings include:
In-car emission concentrations of ethanol types in 6 vehicles with leather upholstery were higher than those with fabric upholstery in 95 vehicles.
In-car concentrations of airborne ketones, furans, styrene emitted from leather steering wheels in 35 vehicles were higher than those with polyurethane steering wheels in 66 vehicles.
In-car VOC levels in new cars with sunroofs caused total VOC concentrations to increase by as much as 30%. This is due to emissions from the sealing materials and adhesives around the sunroof.
The use of black and white fabric upholstery could add more than 30% of the compounds measured inside cars.
Aromatic hydrocarbon pollution could increase with a rise in in-car temperature or humidity but decrease with car age or travel mileage.
The concentrations of benzene, toluene, xylenes and ethylbenzene were higher in new vehicles than in old vehicles by 12.89%, 103.54%, 123.14% and 104.20%, respectively.
The benzene concentration in vehicles at 29°C was about 28.8% higher than that at 24°C .
The 6°C temperature difference from 29°C to 35°C could lead to an increase of 102% of in-cabin benzene concentration. The magnitude of this concentration increase was much higher than the increase seen at the lower temperatures.
The health risk from in-car pollution was higher for drivers than passengers due to their more direct exposure to emission sources.
How to protect yourself from VOCs inside your car
Take an extended sit behind the wheel as part of your test drive to see if your symptoms are triggered if you are especially sensitive to chemicals
Keep car interiors well ventilated, especially during the first six months of ownership
Park in the shade with the windows open when it’s safe to do so, or at least try to air it out before getting inside — especially on hot day
Avoid sitting in the car while it is parked
Use a windshield solar shade to minimize heat buildup
Frequently wipe down your car interior with a microfiber towel and a non-toxic cleaner
Use an in-car high-powered air purifier—very few car manufacturers include a truly effective air filter, especially one that can stop gases and chemicals. Additionally, standard car filters only filter outside air coming into your car. Pollutants can enter through many other areas of the car. Furthermore, a filter that only addresses air coming from outside does nothing for the air that is already inside the car. Specifically, it will never filter the VOCs and other chemicals off-gassing from the car interior. That’s why you need an air purifier that filters that air inside your car.
(credited IQAir group for the above statistics)
IQ Air Group has been a leading innovator for supporting clean air with filters around the world since 1963. They have developed a filter called Atem Care that helps you breathe the cleanest air possible in your car, to protect you from the toxins inside and outside your car.
The 5- in-one HyperHEPA Plus filter provides in- cabin gas and odor elimination, removing 99% of particle pollutants and absorbing odor and gas molecule. This is the top of the line filter and I recommend it for all of you!
Because these filters are costly at $399, I have arranged a special discount for my patients, which is 10% off on all products (home units too). You would need to reference my name and business when ordering products to get this special discount!
So now you don’t have to own a Tesla to have HEPA filtered air in your car! (but if you can afford an electric or hybrid car, this can help save our health and our planet from the rising CO2 emissions). https://www.iqair.com/
To learn about how to help Colorado have cleaner air click here https://simplestepsbetterair.org/
I can test your chemical load using Great Plains Laboratory “Toxic Non-Metal Chemical” $219 https://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/gpl-tox
Foods to help you detoxify
Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts)
Dandelion greens and tea
Berries such as Raspberries and strawberries
Green Drinks (such as Deeper Greens https://www.orthomolecularproducts.com/deeper-greens-powder/615240/
(to name a few, and all organic of course)
Detox Through your Skin
Dry brushing before shower
Castor Oil packs to your liver
Exercise and sweat it out!
InfraRed therapy. As previously discussed, sauna therapy this is one of the best items you could own in your home, but you want one that is toxic free and has low EMF. For this reason, I only recommend High Tech Health.
Supplements to help you detoxify
FiberMend by Thorne- 2 scoops 2x/day (arsenic free) and this has Arabinogalactan from Larch as a prebiotic, Pectin as a binder, green tea anti-oxidant, prune powder and rice bran to bind toxins and eliminate in bowels to help with healthy bowel elimination too. https://www.thorne.com/products/dp/fibermend-trade
Glycine 500mg 3x/day or 1500mg daily https://www.thorne.com/products/dp/glycine
Cysteine or Glutathione- N- Acetyl Cysteine “NAC” 600mg 2x/day (I take more before cycling or if extra exposure outsides) or S Acetyl Glutathione 200mg- take 1-2 pill 2x/day https://www.xymogen.com/formulas/products/129
Chorella 6-12 caps per day http://www.primechlorella.com/
Methylated B’s Methyl Protect 1 pill daily https://www.xymogen.com/formulas/products/122
(to name a few)
Special 15% off supplements above
IV’s to Detoxify
Anything with Vitamin C, Glutathione and B vitamins!
B Vitamins are critical for methylation and detoxification as well as Vitamin C as an anti-oxidant as well
I’ve already discussed glutathione at length in previous newsletter- it’s the power house for liver detoxification and anti-oxidant support- however it’s short lasting in the IV so you can get and IV for exposure and then make sure to take NAC or Glutathione on a daily basis as well for ultimate protection
**See our menu for a list of potent detoxifying treatments https://www.boulderintegrativehealth.com/iv-therapy
I hope that you all feel the energetic pulse of long sunny days, lush growth of flora, chirping birds and giggling kids frolicking in the abundance of this land.
Plant a tree, protect our air, protect yourself and others and have fun, fun, fun in the sun ! (and don't forget your goddess sunscreen!)
Yours in Health,
The EPA on Ozone
To view the air quality here click and enter your zipcode https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_city&zipcode=80304&submit=Go
Or you can use this link https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/air_quality.aspx
Nitrogen Dioxide https://www.epa.gov/no2-pollution
Particulate Matter https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution
Carbon Monoxide https://www.epa.gov/co-pollution
Diesel and health https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diesel-exhaust-and-cancer.html
Benzene and health https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/benzene.html
High Tech Health Infared Sauna https://www.hightechhealth.com/
Contact Rep for BIG Discount when referencing BIH: firstname.lastname@example.org, 303-413-8500 X811