Residual Tobacco Smoke Continues to Pollute

Just how bad is third hand smoke?  Not only does it stick around long after a smoker has quit, it continues to pollute new material that comes into the house, according to a new study.

Everyone has pillows in their homes and San Diego State University used brand new pillows to see if the fabric would absorb lingering nicotine in the environment.  Pillows were placed in two types of homes:  non-smokers, and homes of former smokers who “had quit smoking before the study started.”

After three weeks, air samples were collected and the pillows were analyzed “for nicotine concentrations using isotope-dilution liquid chromatography MS/MS.”  The pillows in the homes of non-smokers were similar to those kept in the laboratory – nicotine was virtually  non-existent.  While the researchers expected nicotine residue to be on the pillow fabric in the homes of former smokers, they were surprised at how the nicotine became embedded deep within the pillow, in the “interior fabrics and filling” and of the “sheer mass of nicotine that becomes embedded.”

Thirdhand smoke residue is absorbed into every area of the home such furniture, carpets, drapes, walls, bedding and other material, but researchers were surprised that new material coming into the home was also being polluted even after the smoking had ended.  We use pillows all the time and don’t think of them containing toxic, carcinogenic properties.  This is just one way our families, especially our children, are being exposed to thirdhand smoke.

The team who worked on this project will be working on two new projects: how to remove thirdhand smoke from homes, and an investigation of secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing.   The results will be interesting.

Click HERE for the news article.


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