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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, everyone! I love my prius (of course), but my younger sister pointed out an unusual problem - every so often, the *inside* of all my windows gets coated with an oily film that greatly increases glare and decreases visibility. We've had to scrub this stuff off twice since I got the car - just recently both my sisters and I were scrubbing away with windex and paper towels. What is this stuff? it's very hard to get off, and I haven't got a clue where it's coming from - so far as I can tell, it's not from the engine, since my mileage has been pretty good this summer (over 50 twice) and I don't seem to be burning any oil. Is it just new plastic fumes? (I've never had a car as new as this one before) Or could it be from other cars? I drive, mostly, in Westchester, which is pretty urban and full of SUVs. In either case, what can I do about this junk??!

Mary (driver of "Alba", white (actually golden pearl) 2003 prius)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
re: smoking

No - I don't smoke, and nor does anyone who drives with me. The occasional cup of coffee or muffin, but not too many of those in the car, either!

BTW, I don't know when the air filter was last checked - is this something I could check myself, and might it help to do so?
 

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I read somewhere that the film comes from the aging of the plastic in the car. It wipes off easily, but does build up over time.
 

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This has happened on all of my cars. No smoking, no obvious source of the 'pollution'. I've always attributed it to the breakdown of the plastic when exposed to the sun. (It seems to happen a little less in the Winter, and happened even less in one car when it was garaged. Although that car was new at the time, and now it's old and not-garaged, so I don't know if it's just due to aging, or being not garaged.)
 

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Hmm, I haven't seen any of this after five months. Do you park for hours at a time with the Sun shining on the dash? That would hasten the aging of the plastic, in which case a Sunshade would help.

Another possibility is an engine coolant leak, so check to see whether the level has gone down at all from "FULL". (The unique Toyota coolant might not leave a noticeable odor.) Consult the owner's manual for location, it may not be obvious just by looking under the hood.
 

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Most likely it is the plasticizers in the interior components vaporizing. It happens in all new cars and is part of that new car smell.

Unfortunately, all plastics do this, since it is what makes them soft and pliable. Products like Armor-all attempt to replace these very same chemicals,and Armorall type products will vaporize also... have you used them?

Plasticizers as a group are believed to be bad for you, and food grade plastics are particularly under scrutiny. Since nobody has done any longterm studies on their effects, who knows what harm they may cause.
FYI, plasticizers and their breakdown products have been found in animal tissue everywhere, so they are in our food chain already...
 

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There has been research

Actually, that has been quite a bit of research about what these plastics and their associated by-products do. It is pretty scary, and of course it is something the "real" scientific community (those still free to produce results the government and big business won't like) have known for a long time. Google for "plastic" and "hormone impostors" and you'll turn up plenty.
 

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Clarification: By long term study I mean 30+ year multi-coincident studies combining possible synergistic effects of these chemicals on human growth, development, and reproduction.

Its easy and cheap to study one chemical in rats that live 3 years. Its quite a bit more expensive to look at 5 or more chemicals combining in mammals living 60+ years... i.e. humans. Luckily, WE ARE PART OF THIS EXPERIMENT RIGHT NOW and don't even know it.... think about that the next time you carpet your 1000 square foot house with plastic or go to work in a new office building/school where your lungs collect plasticizers from the walls, floor, and ceiling... all the more fun when you can't even open the windows.
 

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Saruman said:
Its easy and cheap to study one chemical in rats that live 3 years. Its quite a bit more expensive to look at 5 or more chemicals combining in mammals living 60+ years... i.e. humans.
They could always use lawyers... 8)

But seriously, good topic; I always wondered what caused that residue. Both our cars are "due" for inside window cleaning - have to be more careful with mine due to the tint film (no paper towels, no ammonia, etc.).
 

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Plastics update

Interestingly, later the same day I posted the above comments on plastics, they had a show on NPR dealing with the same subject. (Relatively well researched) signs now point to behavioral problems, not just physical problems.

Any of us feel that ADD just didn't use to exist? They also mimic estrogen in humans and animals, but I'll let you do your own research, no sense retyping it all here.

In a thousand years or so they'll probably look back on our civilization and say "they didn't realize until too late that the plastics were causing brain damage and irreversible genetic damage, and this contributed to the fall of their society." Sounds kind of like what we say about the (Greeks?/Romans?) and their lead water-pipes.

*sigh*

Let's all just leave our windows down, then we'll be safe!

Oh, and be sure to wear aluminum-foil beanies, lots and lots of aluminum-foil beanies. :) (if I put a smily there maybe they won't think I'm crazy)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
wow!

Interesting stuff, and indeed a bit scary! So it's basically plastic fumes, and I just have to keep wiping it off? I don't have a garage, and have to park outside all the time, both at my place and at my parent's. (No fun in the winter, let me tell you!) If one of those dashboard shields would help, I'll certainly get one; otherwise, I guess I'll just keep wiping.

And it is unpleasant to imagine what that junk could be doing to your lungs, let alone other body systems. I've got upper respiratory allergies - something else, like ADD, that seems to be more common today than when I was very small (1960s). Not that ADD and allergies didn't exist; they did, but they do seem almost commonplace today.
 

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What exactly is ADD, my doctor told me I have it, and that it's Attention something Disorder?
 

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Yeah, I was told I have it too. It's uh...

What were we talking about?









(And just in case you were being serious, it's Attention Deficit Disorder. Now it's being called ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.)
 
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