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Researchers Identify Involuntary Tobacco Smoke Exposure in Boston Public Housing Authority Residents with Salivary Cotinine Testing from Salimetrics.
Date:1/31/2013

he literature has documented it to be a specific and sensitive marker for determining exposure to tobacco and nicotine (Benowitz, 1996).

During data analysis, researchers separated active smokers from non-smokers by excluding residents with salivary cotinine values of >15 ng/mL. Out of the 51 remaining residents, salivary cotinine testing was able to identify elevated cotinine levels in 88% of participants. It is well-known that cigarette smoke contains nearly 7,000 chemicals and 60 carcinogens and children are particularly vulnerable to its effects. Of the 88% of residents who showed elevated cotinine levels, 31% were children. Here, mean cotinine levels were much higher than what had previously been reported in recent CDC and national studies (Kaufman, 2010; Wison, 2011; US EPA, 2010).

The Salimetrics Cotinine assay, used by the Salimetrics Laboratory, is specifically designed to work with saliva samples, in comparison to immunoassays from other manufacturers that are designed for use with blood or urine samples. Saliva is also easier and more efficient to collect and store as opposed to other biological testing fluids. The Salimetrics immunoassay is also cost effective when compared to alternative chromatographic assay methods, which is important for large-scale health-related studies that screen for cotinine levels.

(1)    Levy, D.E., Rigotti, N.A., Winickoff, J.P. (2013). Tobacco smoke exposure in a sample of Boston public housing residents. Am J Prev Med, 44(1):63-66.
(2)    Rocheleau M. (2012). Boston set to become largest city in US to ban smoking in public housing.
(3)    Benowitz, N.L. (1996). Cotinine as a biomarker of environmental tobacco smoke exposure. Epidemiol Rev, 18(2): 188-204.
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