Toxic fumes?

diesel
mercedes-benz

#1

This question is a little more serious than your show, but here goes. Is it likely that my 1982 Mercedes 240 emits killer fumes? The reason I ask is that the previous owner recently died of brain cancer, and my now adult children have both been afflicted by shall we say, brain related problems. Does this car emit lead like crazy? Or does the smell of burning diesel cause harm?


#2

Get yourself a home carbon-monoxide detector from the local hardware/home center and put it in the car. If the alarm sounds while driving, unsafe levels of carbon monoxide are building up and can be harmful.

Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless and will cause nausea in lower concentrations, and death at higher concentrations. If no one actually feels sick while inside the car, you’re probably OK, but the detector will tell you for sure.

Other bad things like sulfur dioxide will smell bad, so your nose is your second line of defense.

As for causing brain cancer, well, carbon monoxide will kill you by asphyxiation, but I’ve never heard of a connection with brain cancer.


#3

That’s a great idea! Thank you. Never would have thought of it. For no particular reason, I do tend to dislike riding in it during the winter when driving is mostly done with the windows shut. We’ll see what the detector says.


#4

It’s unlikely that the car itself would have caused brian cancer, as if this were the case we’d have already had a massive lawsuit against Mercedes. Assuming something about the car is causing cancer, it would be specific to YOUR car, not all '82 Mercedes 240’s. I can’t think of anything that might cause this other than, say, radioactive material in the headrest, but it’d be pretty strange for someone to decide to put a plug of uranium into a car seat.

More likely is that the previous owner died of brain cancer, and your adult children have neuro-issues (you don’t say that it’s cancer) due to some other cause. After all, if the car was giving people who ride in it cancer, you logically should have cancer yourself.


#5

Your car does emit lots of particulates, but those are most linked to lung problems, not brain cancer/issues. Have you given any thought to retiring the old girl?


#6

Shadowfax and Texases both make excellent points. If the car was a killer we’d have more and better evidence of it. And it may indeed be time to retire the wee die hard. It is too bad I don’t have a lot of land because I might be tempted to proudly set it in the middle of a sunny pasture as one does with a beloved old horse who has earned a peaceful rest.