Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Inhalation of two Prop 65-listed chemicals within vehicles may be associated with increased cancer risk.

Authors: Reddam, Aalekhya; Volz, David C

Published In Environ Int, (2021 Apr)

Abstract: Chemicals are listed on California's Proposition 65 (Prop 65) for their potential to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and certain chemicals from this list are often detected within interior vehicle dust and air. Therefore, this study examined the potential risk associated with five Prop 65-listed chemicals detected within vehicle interiors: benzene, formaldehyde, di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCIPP). Exposure estimates based on time spent within a vehicle were derived from a meta-analysis of estimated concentrations from the literature. Regulatory levels established by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) were then used to generate percent reference doses (%RfDs) for chemical-specific daily doses as well as determine the probability of risk (exceedance probability) as a function of %RfD for each chemical-specific daily dose. Based on our meta-analysis, benzene and formaldehyde were detected in vehicle interior air whereas DEHP, DBP and TDCIPP were detected in vehicle interior dust. Benzene and formaldehyde were the only two chemicals with an estimated %RfD > 100 across any of the commute times. For commute times of 20 min or longer, the %RfD was > 100 for maximum exposures based on the "maximum allowable daily level" for benzene, and for 95th-percentile exposures based on the "no significant risk level" for benzene and formaldehyde. Furthermore, the probability of exceeding 100% RfD was highest for cancer risks associated with benzene, followed by cancer risks associated with formaldehyde and the risk of reproductive and developmental toxicity associated with benzene. Lastly, within the entire state of California, the percent of commuters with a 10% probability of exceeding cancer risk associated with benzene or formaldehyde exposure was 78% and 63%, respectively. Overall, our study raises concerns about the potential risk associated with inhalation of benzene and formaldehyde for people who spend a significant amount of time in their vehicles, an issue that is especially pertinent to traffic-congested areas where people have longer commutes.

PubMed ID: 33524670 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: No MeSH terms associated with this publication

to Top