It can be dangerous by turning on the heater, ‘after’ starting your engine

I know one thing, it was pretty cold in Michigan today and it made me think about what I read once.

When it’s cold outside what is the first thing you do when you climb into your car?

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If you’re like most of us, you start your car and then immediately turn the heater on full blast and the thing is, this can lead to problems.

The Safe Method of Turning On the Heater

The first thing you should do is open the windows and then let your engine run for 2 minutes.

Then, turn on the heater.

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Easier said than done because most of us do this automatically without thinking. Now that you have an awareness of the dangerous chemical that this could emit, your brain can start to learn a new trick.

Believe it or not, even when we park our car in the shade, it builds up 400-800 mg of benzene inside the car while you’re gone. If your car is left in the sun this number can increase to 2000-4000 mg (40x more dangerous than what is allowed legally).

Get this, most cars manuals even tell us to open the windows first before turning on the heater (or A/C). They just don’t explain the reason why because if they did it may freak you out.

So, why the wait?

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Your car’s dashboard, seats, and virtually all of the plastic objects in your car emit Benzene, a known cancer-causing carcinogen. In other words, repeated exposure to this substance is linked to cancer, especially Leukemia.

In scientific studies, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), have extremely higher rates in workers exposed to high levels of benzene. Jobs in the oil refining industries are a prime example of this.

Process of Benzene Emission

What happens when you turn on the heater is all of the contaminated air has to get pumped out of the unit before any hot air comes out. And guess what comes out with the air?

You bet, a flood of built up Benzene.

So here’s the deal. Failing to do this once in a while certainly won’t kill you, so don’t trip. But adopting newer, healthier practices across your lifestyle (this one) add up and have an accumulative effect.

It’s always worth trying out new good habits.


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