auto repair

Electronic Toxins in Automobiles

Automobiles contain a variety of toxic substances that can enter your body through your skin and by breathing. Inside of your car, heavy metals and other toxins, including mercury, cesium, cadmium and barium are contained within the electronic components of the vehicle. These toxins are primarily within the microchips and liquid crystal display (LCD) screens found on your dashboard and on accessories such as portable geographic positioning system (GPS) units.

The plastics in your vehicle, which make up your dashboard, console, storage compartments, covering of your steering wheel, and components of your vehicle's carpeting, floor mats and safety belts may contain bisphenol A (BPA), which is an endocrine disruptor that can cause hormonal problems when it enters your bloodstream. The heat of the sun can leach this chemical out of the plastics, as can scratches and dings caused by everyday use.

More on Protecting Yourself During Mechanical Work

When doing any type of mechanical work on your vehicle, personal safety protection is key in avoiding or reducing exposure to the toxins in your automobile. Work in a well-ventilated area. While doing the work, place goggles on your eyes and wear a facemask to avoid breathing in fibers and particles that contain toxic substances. “Jewelry should never be worn when working with mechanical equipment of any kind, including when working with automobiles.” Wear long sleeved shirts and pants, as well as gloves that protect your hands. Do not eat or drink until you have thoroughly washed your hands.

Protecting Yourself Inside of the Vehicle

As a driver, you may spend many hours every week inside of your vehicle. This frequent exposure to toxins can adversely affect your health, although there are ways you can protect yourself inside of your automobile. Avoid using chemical air fresheners or cleaners inside of your car. These can damage the plastics and release toxins. Replace plastic floor mats with wool carpets. On hot days, attempt to park in the shade and leave your windows slightly down to allow the heat to dissipate, reducing the leaching of BPA from the plastics. If the upholstery in your car becomes damaged, take your vehicle to an automobile repair shop to repair the upholstery so none of the fibers escape into the air that you breathe in while driving.