Anyone with MCS knows that cars (and all other forms of transportation) can be a problem. The air inside a car can be contaminated with exhaust fumes, formaldehyde, fire retardants and phthalates. Just this week I was driving down the road and the driver in front of me gunned his engine and let out a cloud of black exhaust that threatened to asphyxiate me and the four children I had with me. I set a new record for how fast I can hit the button to close the outside air intake.
The heat of the summer sun can compound the problem, causing upholstery and vinyl components in the car to volatilize and become even more toxic. Parked in the sun on a warm day, the interior of a car can get up to 190 degrees F. When heat is combined with humidity, mold can become a problem as well.
So what's a person to do? Many people use those car air fresheners, but, needless to say, they only add to the already toxic chemical soup.
An article in the Hawaiian newspaper, Big Island Weekly, had some good advice for keeping your car safe, especially in a hot climate. Author Diane Koerner offered the following steps to a cleaner, healthier travel experience.
1) Park in the shade or in a garage whenever possible.
2) Place a sun reflector on the dashboard to reduce interior temperature.
3) Before getting into your car on a hot day, open all the windows and let it ventilate for a few minutes.
4) Use only natural, non-chemical cleaners in your car, just as you would in your home.
5) Keep the mold down in your air conditioner by turning it off a few minutes before you reach your destination, letting the fan run to dry the condenser.
6) Drive with some windows open (unless there has been spraying in your area or you are on a busy highway with lots of other cars).
7) If you have severe MCS or asthma, consider buying a car air purifier designed to remove gas and airborne particles. (www.NEEDS.com is one source.)
I feel so isolated anyway with MCS. Having a safe car is a top priority for me, even if it's just take a ride in the country once in a while.