• TDCIPP is a chlorinated organophosphate which is used as flame retardants, anti-foaming agents and plasticizers
  • TDCIPP concentrations are associated with increased commute time
  • Long commuters might be at risk of exposure to this cancerous chemical

To the growing list of cancer-causing substances, experts have now added a chemical flame retardant emanating from car interiors.

While several studies have pointed out that air pollutants entering vehicle interiors has a negative impact on health, this study, recently published in the Journal Environment International, is the first to document that, the longer one commutes, they are exposed to this carcinogen called TDCIPP present in automobile seat foam.

This new flame retardant was added to the Proposition 65-list of chemicals that are used in the automobile industry. Ever since 2013, it was assumed that human beings were no more exposed to this chemical. But, it is continued to be used in automobile seat foam and the study highlights the fact that only is a car seat a source of this chemical. But, less than a week of commuting results in elevated exposure to the carcinogen.

"I went into this rather skeptical because I didn't think we'd pick up a significant concentration in that short a time frame, let alone pick up an association with commute time," Science Daily quoted the study’s lead author David Volz, associate professor of environmental toxicology at UCR. "We did both, which was really surprising," he added.

Volz and his team have been studying how various chemicals affect the trajectory of early development. Using zebrafish models, they have found that TDCIPP affects the normal development of an embryo. Previous studies have also pointed out the link between TDCIPP and infertility among women undergoing fertility treatments.

After knowing that the chemical is still included in car seats, the researchers sought to find out if a person’s exposure elevated based on their commute.

The study included 90 students who commuted between 15 minutes to two full hours. They were all made to wear silicone wristbands for five days. Since the molecular structure of silicone makes it ideal for capturing contaminants. The findings suggested that a person’s exposure to TDCIPP was directly proportional to the amount of time they spent commuting in their vehicle.

Although they didn’t collect urine samples from the study participants, the silicon wristbands they used have been significantly correlated with urinary biomarkers. Further research is needed to completely understand the effects of TDCIPP on commuters.

Can car seats give you cancer? Pexels, Pixabay