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Cobalt's air tests cleanest
Many cars have high toxic levels
March 20, 2007
BY JOE GUY COLLIER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
The Chevrolet Cobalt provides the healthiest interior air space of any mainstream vehicle offered in the United States, but the auto industry's commitment to reducing toxic chemicals inside cars is inconsistent, according to a consumer guide to be released today by the Ecology Center, an Ann Arbor environmental group.
While the Cobalt, made by General Motors Corp., had the lowest level of toxic chemicals in its interior, GM also had some of the worst ratings with the Chevy Aveo, Express van and Silverado in the bottom 10.
The ratings are part of a guide being released by the Ecology Center on the Web site www.healthycar.org
. The group tested the interiors of more than 200 new vehicles, scanning parts such as steering wheels, dashboards, armrests and seats for chemicals that have been linked to health problems ranging from allergies to birth defects.
The good news is that a wide variety of vehicles did well in the tests, said Jeff Gearhart, clean car campaign director for the Ecology Center. In addition to the Cobalt, the Chrysler PT Cruiser wagon, Honda Odyssey minivan and Volvo V50 wagon scored well.
"The positive of the study is that we found many vehicles that are already doing this that are affordable and in different market segments," Gearhart said.
But a wide range of vehicles -- from the Nissan Versa, a small car, to the Chevy Express, a heavy-duty van -- also tested poorly.
With people spending more time commuting in their cars and trucks, it's important to focus on interior pollution inside vehicles as a way to reduce health problems, Gearhart said. "We're hoping this type of guide can help people minimize some of these issues."
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