Press Releases

Volvo models best in interior air quality according to new study

Jan 16, 2006 ID: 5101



An independent survey carried out by the Ecology Center in Detroit shows that the interiors of Volvo’s cars emit lower levels of toxic substances than other car makes.

The Ecology Center recently presented a study (Toxic at Any Speed: Chemicals in Cars & the Need for Safe Alternatives) of the toxic chemicals used in building car interiors. Flame retardant PBDE and phthalates, whose main use is as a softener in plastics, were included in the study. These chemical substances can migrate from plastics and textiles, particularly at high temperatures. The car’s occupants may thus be exposed to these substances, for instance through the respiratory system. Certain types of phthalates and flame retardants can for instance promote genetic mutations and can subject car occupants to health hazards.
The survey reveals that the concentrations of PBDE in dust and on the windscreen are up to five times higher than in the homes of most people, and since many people today spend a lot of time in their cars, car interiors thus have a significant effect on human health.


Volvo cars have the lowest phthalate emissions
The Ecology Center carried out the survey on 11 different makes of car built between 2000 and 2005. The results show that the interiors of Volvo’s cars have the lowest emissions of phthalates. There was even a lower incidence of flame retardant PBDE in Volvo’s models than in most other cars, which according to the research institute makes Volvo a world leader in the area of interior air quality. The Ecology Center encourages other car manufacturers to follow Volvo’s example.


Dedication to a firm goal
“In an age when many people suffer from asthma and allergies, it is only natural for Volvo Cars to offer its customers a good environment even inside the car,” comments Anders Kärrberg, Environmental Director at Volvo Cars. In order to meet Volvo’s high standards, it is necessary both to use the right materials and to ensure that the air entering the car via the climate system is properly filtered. Volvo has been working for many years now on creating a clean interior climate which is also suitable for people who are particularly sensitive, such as those suffering from asthma and allergies.
“The textiles and leather used in our cars meet stringent Oeko-Tex standard 100, which ensures that fabrics and hides have been thoroughly tested to check for certain allergy-inducing substances. We also work with contact allergies and are phasing out toxic substances such as certain phthalates. Volvo’s IAQS air quality system has also been developed to clean the air and reduce the risk of allergic reactions inside the car,” concludes Anders Kärrberg.


The Ecology Center (EC) is an environmental protection organisation based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Ecology Center works to promote a clean and healthy environment, not least through education and the implementation of various projects.



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