Ladies, if you are pregnant, do not buy a new car. Why?!?? You ask. Because that fresh “new” smell of your nice new car, which is particularly strong after the new car has been baking in the sun, is the smell of phthalates which you are taking into your lungs and therefore bloodstream. Phthalates (pronounced THAL ates) are hormone disruptors which are particularly harmful in pregnancy (when your hormones are already doing some crazy things, they don’t need anything else interfering!) Not to mention you don't want to increase the likelyhood of birth defects in your unborn fetus!
Phthalates are everywhere: perfumes, shower curtains, MP3 players (including ear phones), hair sprays, nail polishes, even sex toys. Because they are everywhere, you can’t avoid them completely. However, women, particularly young women are more susceptible than men due to the high quantity of person care products they use. A 2001 study conducted by the Atlanta-based Center for Disease control found that phthalate levels were 20 times higher in young women than normal. However, don’t think men are off the hook because they have different hormones than women. In a 2006 Harvard University in Cambridge study by Hauser linked phthalates to decreased sperm count and testicular cancer not to mention another study at University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry linked phthalates to abdominal fat and insulin resistance (think Santa Clause with a beer belly)!
So in summary be careful with these chemicals, especially if you are pregnant. Another reason not to spray perfume on your skin (see Toxic Tip 1)!