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 |  Feb 19 2012, 4:00 PM

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The new 2012 Civic might not be landing at the top of a lot of lists this year, but it can claim best marks when it comes to the level of toxic materials used.

The Ecology Center has just released its fourth consumer guide to toxic chemicals in cars at HealthyStuff.org, and the Honda Civic is rated as the least toxic car out of 200 2011- and 2012-model vehicles. The study tested for chemicals that off-gas from parts such as the steering wheel, dashboard, armrests, and seats – the same chemicals that contribute to that new car smell everyone seems to enjoy.

“Research shows that vehicle interiors contain a unique cocktail of hundreds of toxic chemicals that off-gas in small, confined spaces,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center. “Since these chemicals are not regulated, consumers have no way of knowing the dangers they face. Our testing is intended to expose those dangers and encourage manufacturers to use safer alternatives.”

Topping the charts this year for least toxic was the Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, Honda CR-Z, Nissan Cube, Acura RDX, Acura ZDX, Audi S5, Smart Coupe, Toyota Venza, and Smart Passion. At the bottom of the list was the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport – the most toxic of 200 or so popular models that were studied.

The report also showed that Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, and Ford were the most improved brands compared to their 2009/2010 model counterparts while Daimler AG and Volvo both saw declining averages over the same time span.

Check out a video of the report below:

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