You’ve heard about the ‘scary’ chemicals that make car fumes smell like rotten eggs.
You’ve seen the videos of cars burning up after running out of oil.
And now there’s a brand new chemical that can make your car smell like something else entirely: car exhaust.
But it’s only a taste of what’s coming.
“This chemical is known as benzene, and it’s not only used to treat the effects of cancer and asthma, but also as a cleaning agent,” says Dr Peter Jorgensen, a professor of environmental health at the University of Oxford.
Benzene is a naturally occurring gas that’s used to clean cars.
And it has a wide range of other health effects.
Benzene is one of the major greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.
In addition to causing respiratory and cardiovascular effects, benzene can also cause respiratory problems.
“In terms of what it does to the human body, it is the second most potent greenhouse gas behind carbon dioxide, and this is why it is considered to be the most harmful greenhouse gas,” says Jorgenson.
In the past, benzenone was considered one of a few chemicals that could potentially kill people, but scientists are now learning more about benzene.
Benzenes have been shown to have potent anti-cancer effects, so it has been proposed that the chemicals could potentially be used to combat lung cancer.
In fact, benzenes have a higher cancer risk than alcohol and tobacco, says Jornson.
“Benzene itself is not harmful to people,” he adds.
In recent years, researchers have developed a number of different ways to detect and control benzene in the environment.
Some of these methods rely on monitoring emissions, while others use radiological measurements.
A study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that, when using a radiological instrument, benzones were detected in the air for longer periods and were detectable at higher concentrations than expected.
And there are even newer ways to identify benzene emissions in the lab.
“We now have technology that detects benzene from emissions in a range of atmospheres and can identify benzenes from the air in a whole range of different locations,” says Daniel Schreiber, the lead author of the study.
Another study published last year in Environmental Science & Technology found benzene levels in drinking water had increased by as much as 40 percent in the past decade.
This has led to a number water agencies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, to ban benzene-containing products from their facilities.
And the US EPA has now launched a campaign to ban the use of benzene products in the country’s most popular water filters.
“The EPA is aware of these concerns and is working on ways to protect public health and the environment from benzene,” says Scott Stoll, an EPA spokesperson.
The use of these new methods to detect benzene pollution is expected to be a significant part of efforts to control benzone emissions from vehicle exhaust.
And while the new method could lead to the eradication of benzenes in the atmosphere, Jorgersen is hopeful that this new technique will be able to help us to curb the increasing amount of benzone in our environment.
“There is a lot of research going on into how to use this technology, and we are hopeful that by doing so we can see a reduction in the amount of emissions and we can also reduce the harmful effects of benzones,” he says.
It’s important to note that this chemical does not have the same health impacts as carbon dioxide.
“Although it has some of the same effects on humans, it does not contribute to global warming as carbon does,” says Schreib.
Jorgensen says that although benzene has a large effect on the body, the real-world impacts of this chemical are not yet well understood.
“It is not the main factor driving the climate change that we are seeing,” he tells Business Insider.
“So the more we learn about the health effects of the chemical, the better it will be for people to understand what is going on.”
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