Some people find the new car smell to be quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, a new study has turned that bit of joy into bad news. A study at Harvard just found the “new car smell” that everyone knows and some of us love might cause cancer. Don’t worry if you have a “new car smell” air freshener dangling from your rearview mirror. They only looked at actual new cars.

Researchers at Harvard and the Beijing Institute of Technology analyzed the air inside new cars parked outside. They left a brand-new car parked outside for twelve days, then measured the air quality inside. When doing this, they found large amounts of two known carcinogens.

The study found two known cancer-causing carcinogens. There was 35 percent more formaldehyde in the air than what’s considered safe and 61 percent acetaldehyde. Each exceeded the Chinese national safety standards.

They also discovered that spending just an hour and a half in a car every day exposed a person to enough formaldehyde and acetaldehyde to exceed safe limits.

“These observations increase our understanding of in-cabin chemical transport and emission mechanisms,” the researchers wrote in their paper, published in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science.

During warmer weather, levels of the dangerous chemicals also increased, the study found.

We spend a lot of time on the roads and anyone who often leases new cars could potentially have a higher risk. There are some ways to try and reduce the risk of what the study found. This includes keeping your car ventilated, parking in shade to reduce rising temperatures in your car, and keeping your car clean to avoid dust.

10 Most Unusual Smells People Love

Have you ever tried a fragrance and thought to yourself, “Wow, this smells awful?” Then you wonder why and how anyone would ever enjoy that smell. Just like our sense of taste, smells are based on preference. For example, your friend may like the smell of corpse flowers (the worst-smelling flower in the world) and burnt hair while you like the smell of roses and bonfires. 

“Most people assume we all like the smell of roses and hate the smell of skunk… with the exception of irritating odors, smell is something we come to know from personal and cultural experiences.” noted lead researcher Rachel Herz, PhD, in a 2005 Brown University study.

Alan R Hirsch, the founder and neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment & Research Foundation, explained to NPR that “the factors that influence our sense of smell are actually a combination of cultural, genetic, and environmental factors.”

There are certain smells that almost everyone loves. From the new car smell (which may not be good for you) and freshly baked bread to Sharpies and gasoline. People enjoy a variety of aromas and find some more pleasant than others. The scents we smell can change our moods and emotions. Sometimes, it can even bring us back to long-forgotten events and memories.

Here are 10 unusual smells most people enjoy.

  • Nail Polish

    Different nail polishes in the shopIt could be due to its association with nail salons. It’s where many people find a moment of relaxation.

  • Your Significant Other’s Hair

    Should you thank their hair care routine for this? Or maybe you’re a fan of their pheromones? Let’s just call it a chemically compatible match.
    A young romantic couple in bliss

  • Tennis Balls

    Some people enjoy the smell of recycled rubber, glue, and a slight hint of petroleum.
    Tennis ball lying on the court. Healthy lifestyle concept

  • Sharpies/ Markers

    It’s probably not because it can make you high. It may have more to do with nostalgia. Sharpies and markers tend to smell like childhood to some people.

    Marker Tops

  • Chlorine/ Bleach

    It makes sense that some people like the smell of chlorine. Most people are reminded of memories by the pool. Or maybe an abundance of laundry.

    Chlorine tablets for pool maintenance. Chlorine powder or tablets is the most common disinfectant for pool water, a very effective solution and it is a chemical product.

  • New Books

    It may be something with the smell combination of fresh paper and book adhesive, mixed with the excitement of getting a new book.

    open book close up photo, blurred background

  • Your Own Body Odor

    Do you ever catch a whiff of yourself and actually don’t mind it? Maybe, it’s because it’s your own scent. Some studies show that we’ve adapted to like our own odors, to help us maintain proper hygiene.

    Shot of a young woman smelling her underarm in a bathroom at home

  • Freezer Burn/ Frozen over-freezer

    It has that “cold” smell that’s similar to when the AC blows in the car.

    freezer compartment of the refrigerator is very thick with ice

  • Cow Manure

    Some people like it because it “smells like the country.” The smell is supposedly associated with fresh air and fields of farmland.

    Fertilizer made from cow manure

  • Blown Out Candle

    Someone loved this scent so much that they created a crowdfunding site for a candle that “always smells like it’s not actually burning while it’s burning.” They described the smell as a “warm, smoky aroma.”

    White candle extinguished on black background

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