Passenger and Off-Highway Motor Vehicles

Why am I being warned about potential exposure to chemicals from passenger vehicles and off-highway motor vehicles?

  • Some chemicals from passenger vehicles and off-highway motor vehicles are on the Proposition 65 list because they can cause cancer and/or birth defects or other reproductive harm
  • Proposition 65 requires businesses to determine if they must provide a warning about exposures to listed chemicals.

Passenger vehicles and off-highway motor vehicles can expose you to chemicals through their use and operation, and when they are serviced or maintained.

Frontal view vehicle with exhaust coming out the back.  Frontal View of an all terrain vehicle
  • These chemicals include carbon monoxide and engine exhaust (gas and diesel), which are produced when vehicles burn fuel; some phthalates that are used to make plastics flexible in automobile upholstery and interiors; and lead, which can be found in lead-acid batteries and some vehicle parts.

How does exposure to chemicals occur from passenger vehicles and off-highway motor vehicles?

  • During pregnancy, chemicals from passenger vehicles or off-highway motor vehicles can pass from mother to baby.

How can I reduce my exposure to chemicals from passenger vehicles and off-highway motor vehicles?

  • When refueling your vehicle, avoid skin contact with the fuel and stand a few steps away from the nozzle to reduce exposure to any fuel vapors that might be released to the air.
  • Minimize your exposure to exhaust from the engines of passenger and off-highway motor vehicles. 
    • Always start and operate vehicle engines in a well-ventilated area.
    • Avoid idling vehicle engines, where possible.
    • Whenever practical, do not stand next to operating vehicle engines.  Distance yourself from the source of the exhaust.
    • Keep your vehicle engine running cleanly by performing regular maintenance as recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
  • Wear gloves when servicing or maintaining vehicles, and work in a well-ventilated area. 
  • Wash your hands after servicing vehicles or pumping gasoline, and before preparing food and eating.
  • Assure adequate ventilation inside the car.  Open the windows and doors of your vehicle when it is new, and do so regularly thereafter to bring in outdoor air.  In general, set the ventilation system to allow the entry of air from outside the vehicle when driving. 
  • Wipe up dust in your vehicle regularly, using a damp cloth, or a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

For more information:

General Fact Sheets and Resources

Proposition 65

  • California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)
    Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
Posted January 2018

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