Chain Email: Benzene and Cars

You know what I find to be the source of much entertainment? Chain Emails. A co-worker just forwarded one to me. Being a (DC) Skeptic, I decided to look into the claims made my this Email:

IMPORTANT – MUST READ

Any new car’s booklet specifically states that one should open car windows for 5 minutes + to air the car before switching on the Air Condition I wondered why.

No wonder more folks are dying from cancer than ever before.  We wonder where this stuff comes from but here is an example that explains a lot of the cancer causing incidents.  Hmmm.  Many people are in their cars first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, 7 days a week.

As I read this, it makes me feel guilty and ill.  Please pass this on to as many people as possible. Guess its not too late to make some changes

Car A/C (Air Conditioning) MUST READ!!!
Please do NOT turn on A/C as soon as you enter the car.

Open the  windows after you enter your car and turn ON the AC after a
Couple of minutes.

Here’s why:

According to a research, the car dashboard, sofa, air freshener emit
Benzene, a Cancer causing toxin (carcinogen – take time to observe the
Smell of heated plastic in your car).

In addition to causing cancer, Benzene poisons your bones, causes anemia
And reduces white blood cells.

Prolonged exposure will cause Leukemia, increasing the risk of cancer.

Can also cause miscarriage.

Acceptable Benzene level indoors is 50 mg per sq. Ft. A car parked indoors with windows closed will contain 400-800 mg of Benzene.

If parked outdoors under the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F, the Benzene level goes up to 2000-4000 mg, 40 times the acceptable level.

People who get into the car, keeping windows closed will inevitably
Inhale,in quick succession, excessive amounts of the toxin..

Benzene is a toxin that affects your kidney and liver.. What’s worse, it is
Extremely difficult for your body to expel this toxic stuff.

So friends, please open the windows and door of your car – give time for
Interior to air out -dispel the20deadly stuff – before you enter.

Thought:

‘When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it ,you have a moral obligation to share it with others.”…!!

Interesting. But is it true? And what the hell is “a research?”

It’s a good thing we have places like Google and snopes.com. It took me 30 seconds to find out that, not surprisingly, most of this email is complete bull. It got one thing right: Benzene can cause cancer. What it got wrong was the source of the benzene. According to a study linked by snopes, the benzine is not necessarily caused by the smell of the plastics in the car. It didn’t seem to give the source of the benzene, but it didn’t matter if it was in the winter or summer, nor did the time of day seem to matter. So waiting to run your A/C won’t matter, nor will it decrease your exposure to benzene. Exposure also occurs on the road.

So what’s the point I’m trying to make? Benzene seems to be in cars. The dire warnings in this email are misguided. It only took me 30 seconds to find this stuff out. Not a lot of work to see through some BS.

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