Tobacco Smoke Debris Can Become Airborne Again After Being Inside For 20 Years
If someone you live with is a religious smoker, they may be spreading tobacco debris on clothing, bedding, and couches. The debris may become airborne and enter through the house’s ventilation system and litter your lungs.
Researchers from Drexel University in Philadelphia found this after researching the air composition in a non-smoking, empty classroom over a months period, using an aerosol mass spectrometer.
Their intention was to see what happens to outdoor particles when they come inside the classroom. They actually found that a chemical signature that was only indoors and not outdoors. They found that these chemicals are from third hand smoke. This third hand smoke made up 29% of the air mass in the room.
What was astounding was that the particles, from the secondhand smoke, found its way into a room that hadn’t allowed smoking in at least 20-25 years.
The researchers do not know exactly how the smoke debris got into the classroom.
The room was also located near an office space where several smokers worked; that space shares the same HVAC system as the classroom in question.
The head researcher, Peter DeCarlo says, “It's difficult to study due to the overlap between secondhand smoke and third hand smoke," he says. But he adds, "It's certainly a concern and explains how people can be exposed to these chemicals even when they aren't regularly around smokers."
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