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Thirdhand smoke may be even bigger hazard

Thirdhand smoke may be even bigger hazard
An Ultra-Orthodox boy smokes a cigarette on the Jewish holiday of Purim in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem, March 1, 2010. Purim is the celebration of the salvation of the Jews from genocide in ancient Persia as told in the book of Esther. UPI/Debbie Hill | License Photo

HAIFA, Israel, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- "Thirdhand smoke," the remains of cigarette smoke that clings to surfaces, may be a bigger health hazard than previously thought, a researcher in Israel warns.

Study leader Yael Dubowski of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, says thirdhand smoke can lead to the formation of contaminates on surfaces -- carpeting, clothing, furniture and other surfaces -- and pose a hazard to a baby crawling on the carpet, a person napping on the sofa or someone eating food tainted by thirdhand smoke.

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Dubowski and colleagues studied interactions between nicotine and indoor air on a variety of different materials including cellulose, cotton and paper to simulate typical indoor surfaces. They found nicotine can interact with ozone in indoor air to form potentially toxic pollutants that get deposited on these surfaces.

"Given the toxicity of some of the identified products and that small particles may contribute to adverse health effects, the present study indicates that exposure to thirdhand smoke may pose additional health risks," the study authors say in a statement.

The study published Environmental Science & Technology finds nicotine interacts with ozone, in indoor air, to form potentially toxic pollutants on surfaces.

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