Debunking Myths: Benzene And Hot Air Inside Vehicles

The email is traversing the Internet again about benzene and hot air inside vehicles. The alarm bells went off at Alan’s Collision NE Philly, a non-DRP auto body repair service, about the following:

1. More people are dying from cancer than ever before. (Thinking: Yes, this is likely true and can easily be corroborated by data from the American Cancer Society or other authoritative websites.)
2. Many people are in their cars the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, 7 days a week. (Thinking: Hmm, yes, we all do drive throughout the day; however, maybe on Sunday we prefer to walk or not leave the house? How about if someone else drives us to the movies Saturday evening and our car sits from Saturday morning soccer practice or a visit to auto body repair NE Philly to Monday morning when we drive to work?)
3. Please do not turn on air conditioning as soon as you enter the car; open the windows after you enter the car and then after a couple minutes turn on the AC. (Thinking: What if we’re driving in the winter? Does this count?)
4. According to research, the car’s dashboard, seats, a/c ducts, in fact ALL of the plastic objects in your vehicle emit benzene, a cancer-causing toxin, a big carcinogen. (Thinking: Isn’t that just the new-car smell in newer vehicles? And if every single vehicle emits benzene upon starting an auto that has been backing in the sun, wouldn’t there have been a recall? You know about all the recalls from airbags, right? It seems that manufacturers are doing a lot more testing on vehicles prior to pushing them into the car dealership lot for sale. Benzene and dashboard heat would probably be discovered before being sold.

The email goes on to include other facts that may or may not be true:

  • Acceptable levels of benzene indoors
  • Levels of benzene in a hot vehicle
  • What is benzene and how does it affect your body

Debunking the Hot Air and Benzene Myth

Are you familiar with Snopes? Whenever you have an inkling that something flying around the Internet is faulty thinking, hit the Snopes website or do a Google search for the keywords in the email.

Upon checking, the Alan’s Collision marketing team found exactly what it was looking for proof that this benzene and hot air claim is exactly that – a myth.

The first time the story traversed the Internet was in 2009. The claim is unproven; yet, the Snopes article shares this, extracted exactly:

The e-mail did get one thing right, though: Upon returning to a closed car on warm days, you 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; rather, it’s because when a car is parked in the sun with its windows rolled up, that condition can create a greenhouse effect which causes the interior of the vehicle to warm up to a temperature considerably higher than that of the outside air. Opening the windows for a few moments allows for the exchange of hot air from inside the vehicle with cooler air outside, speeding up the process of cooling off the car more than air conditioning alone would.

Snopes does a really great job of debunking myths with proof points from authorities and data.

It’s hard not to believe everything that comes off the Internet; but, bad souls breed on vulnerable and trusting people.

Alan’s Collision has built its auto body repair business in NE Philly on trust. We offer and deliver best collision repair in Philadelphia, and we want our customers to feel welcome and satisfied.

You can bet there will be no benzene in your hot car because that is purely a myth we just debunked for you via

Safe Driving!