car interiorIs your car safe?

I’m not talking seat belts and air bags. Nope, I’m asking about that new-car smell. Take a big whiff, and ask yourself again: Is your car safe?

What you smell may be part of a toxic soup of chemicals off-gassing from parts like the steering wheel, dashboard, armrests, and seat. These chemicals can include bromine, chlorine, lead, and other toxins that contribute to a litany of health problems ranging from decreased fertility to liver, kidney, thyroid, and brain damage.

So how do you know whether your car is making you sick? The folks at HealthyCar.org, a new website launching today, are lookin’ out for you. They’ve tested over 200 of the most popular 2006-2007 model vehicles using fancy-pants technology (a portable X-Ray Fluorescence device!).

Below, a handy-dandy chart of the 10 best and worst models. Don’t see your car? Search by model on the HealthyCar website, then take action to reduce your exposure and tell the automakers you want a safer vehicle.

best and worst chart