Third-hand smoke can be found in indoor, non-smoking areas
A Drexel University study has found that third-hand smoke chemicals can contaminate even indoor areas where no one smokes.
PHILADELPHIA — A new study has found that chemicals from tobacco smoke can contaminate indoor areas where no one has smoked for decades.
The Washington Post reports that Drexel University researchers analyzing air in a non-smoking classroom found that chemicals from third-hand smoke made up 29% of the air mass.
When they filled a glass container with cigarette smoke and then treated it with outdoor air, the team found that third-hand smoke chemicals in the air increased by 13% after contact with the container.
Experiments show that third-hand smoke residue on surfaces can be redistributed into the air when exposed to chemicals like ammonia, and attach to aerosol particles that enter via the HVAC system.
The same system allows the particles to be carried to different rooms throughout a building, exposing people to the potentially hazardous chemicals.
Current studies on third-hand smoke indicate it has harmful effects, with one UK study suggesting every 1 in 1,000 of those exposed face an increased risk of cancer.
But scientists believe more research is needed not only on the health implications, but also on whether chemicals in increasingly popular e-cigarettes will have a similar effect.
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