CHILDREN have been warned not to suck on the exhaust pipes of hybrid cars amid fears they may not be 100% safe.
Government scientists say the cars may be producing more than just gentle waftings of spring-fresh air that make the bees and the flowers dance.
Roy Hobbs, director of Her Majesty's Exhaust Laboratory in Reading, said: "Our initial study suggested that although these cars run on petrol most of the time, it was as if they were scrubbing the air clean with Ecover detergents.
"It's similar to the effect generated by bio-fuel or conventional cars that have had their emissions offset.
"Fields and forests come alive as these vehicles drive past. Birds, insects and small animals feel invigorated by whatever life-enhancing substance is belching out the rear end."
Mr Hobbs said the laboratory reassessed its findings after it was pointed out that the initial research was based largely on television adverts.
"I liked the one for ibuyeco.co.uk where the filthy exhaust is transformed into a jolly pipe full of wildflowers and butterflies," said Mr Hobbs.
But he added: "We did a series of 'suck-tests' and, strangely enough, there was a smidgen of instantaneously lethal poison in there too.
"Not enough to kill a tree or a whale or one of those poor dancing bears, but certainly enough to kill a person."