The Nissan Versa topped HealthyCar’s list of harmful and toxic car interiors along with the Chevrolet Aveo, Scion xB and Kia Rio last year, but it’s time to take a look at the list again this year as a new study has been released.

Healthy Car

The worse this time around is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spider GT convertible. There are quite a few familiar names up there, and the Suzuki Forenza is the Chevrolet Optra while the Suzuki Reno which is the second worst is the Chevrolet Optra5. However note that these scores may not apply to our local cars at all as the dashboard and interior materials will most likely come from different suppliers.

What makes a car interior toxic is the chemicals that are given off by the materials such as the dash, seats and carpet. These chemicals will be slowly released into the air over time. There are a few chemicals typically found in car interiors that cause concern, and HealthyCar tests for all of them:

  • Bromine – used to make plastics fire resistant. Associated with thyroid problems, memory impairment, learning disability, fertility problems, behavioural changes. It could be one reason why your wife started having mood swings ever since you bought her that Proton Savvy instead of the Honda Jazz she wanted.
  • Phthalates – found in PVC. Associated with fertility problems, pre-term deliveries, liver problems, testicle problems, thyroid problems, ovary problems, kidney problems and can also pass from mother to baby through placenta and breast milk.
  • Lead – additive in plastics. Exposure can lead to brain damage, kidney problems, blood problems, nerve problems, leaning and behavioural problems and damage to reproductive system.
  • Other harmful substances, allergens and carcinogens like antimony, arsenic, chromium, cobalt, copper, mercury, nickel and tin.

What’s quite interesting is also the fact that the BMW 125i is listed as having one of the most toxic car interiors, but the BMW M5 has one of the most healthy interiors. I guess BMW uses better materials in their more expensive cars.