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LA BioMed study finds 'thirdhand smoke' poses danger to unborn babies' lungs
Date:4/19/2011

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Thirdhand smoke is aged secondhand smoke, and it attaches to the surfaces in homes and other surroundings. It is composed of smaller, ultrafine particles with a greater molecular weight that pose a greater asthma hazard than firsthand or secondhand smoke. Although concerns about the dangers from thirdhand smoke have been raised recently, this new study is the first to provide biological data to support these concerns.

Dr. Rehan said touching surfaces contaminated with thirdhand smoke, as well as ingesting dust containing the superfine particles of thirdhand smoke, are the most likely major pathways for exposure to these toxins.

"Children and pregnant mothers in busy households are especially susceptible to thirdhand smoke exposure because they could touch or breathe in the toxic substances from contaminated surfaces," he said. "Among infants, it has been found that the rate of ingesting dust is more than twice that of adults, making babies especially vulnerable to the effects of thirdhand smoke."

He also noted that nicotine levels are six times lower among infants living in homes with strict no-smoking policies.

"The dangers of thirdhand smoke span the globe because smoking is more prevalent in many other countries than it is in the United States," he said. "While further study is needed, the alarming data clearly highlight the potential risks and long-term consequences of thirdhand smoke exposure."

While previous studies had documented the danger of nicotine in thirdhand smoke, this new study measured the effect of two other toxins in thirdhand smoke1-(N-methyl-N-nitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridinyl)-4-butanal (NNA) and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). The researchers found prenatal exposure to thirdhand tobacco smoke components plays a much greater role in altered lung function in offspring than postnatal or childhood exposures.


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Contact: Laura Mecoy
Lmecoy@issuesmanagement.com
310-546-5860
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed)
Source:Eurekalert

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