Spending a lot of time on the road is not considered risky, especially if you have excellent driving skills and fellow drivers on the road are reasonable. However, a new study highlights a different type of health risk that might be a source of concern, especially for long-distance travelers.
The University of California compiled a report which reveals that foam used to make car seats contains potentially dangerous chemicals that may lead to cancer development. The chemical compound in question is known as Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate or TDCIPP, a commonly used carcinogen as a frame retardant by many companies.
Automotive manufacturers use foams containing TDCIPP in car seat padding and also in car mats. Researchers conducted some tests to determine just how dangerous the chemicals could be. They applied TDCIPP to zebrafish embryos and found that the chemical blocked their natural growth. The discovery prompted researchers to explore the impact of TDCIPP on humans, particularly their fertility.
The researchers enrolled 88 participants into the study through which all of them were required to travel for specific durations every day. The duration ranged from less than 15 minutes to just over 2 hours every day. The participants were required to wear silicone wristbands for trapping TDCIPP particles.
Researchers confirm the presence of TDCIPP in vehicles
Study findings revealed that a substantial amount of TDCIPP particles collected on the wrist bands, and the longer the participants spent in cars, the more their sensitivity to TDCIPP. The findings indicate that particles of the chemical compound emanate from the seats. The scientists might have to collect urine samples from the study participants to determine if the chemical compound is absorbed.
Researchers believe that it is likely that people inhale the TDCIPP particles. Further research will allow scientists to determine if the particles are indeed absorbed into human bodies and the potential health implications. Unfortunately, it might be rather difficult to avoid inhaling TDCIPP and dust particles within vehicles. Researchers recommend cleaning your vehicle regularly to reduce the amount of dust and other potentially harmful chemicals that people might be subjected to, especially when they spend a lot of time in their vehicles.