Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Benzene is among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States. It is used mainly as a starting material in making other chemicals, including plastics, rubbers, drugs and so on.
Do automobiles really produce potentially cancer-causing levels of Benzene?
A studies on 2001 of commuter exposure in Korean urban area found some relationship between automobile use and exposure to benzene, here is one of their study:
- The study found that traveling by automobile increased exposure to a number of deleterious compounds, including benzene, but the primary factor in this regard was the fuel used by the vehicles, not internal components such as dashboards.
The Korean study itself did not establish a connection between commuter exposure to benzene and the onset of cancer.
According to American Cancer Society(ACS) reported that they found no published studies that confirm the claims of automobiles produce benzene will cancer-causing level. Benzene levels that exceed recommendations for chronic workplace exposure have been observed in some moving cars, but these levels seem unlikely in properly maintained cars.
Upon returning to a closed car on warm days, passenger should open the windows for a minute or so rather than immediately turning on the air conditioning. The reason has nothing to do with benzene levels, however, it’s because when a car is parked under the sun with its windows closed, that condition can create a greenhouse effect which causes the interior of the vehicle to warm up to a temperature considerably higher than the outside air.
Source : http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/benzene.asp