Research led by the University of York has highlighted the potential cancer risk in non-smokers particularly young children of tobacco smoke gases and particles deposited to surfaces and dust in the home.
Until now, the risks of this exposure known as 'third hand tobacco smoke' have been highly uncertain and not considered in public policy.
However, a new study published in the journal Environment International, has estimated for the first time the potential cancer risk by age group through non-dietary ingestion and dermal exposure to third hand smoke. The results indicate potentially severe long-term consequences, particularly to children.
The research was carried out by York's Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, and the Chromatography and Environmental Applications research group at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain.
The study, which was supported by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the General Research Directorate of the Government of Catalonia, also demonstrates for the first time the widespread presence of tobacco related carcinogens in house dust, even in 'smoke-free' environments.
Scientists collected dust samples from private homes occupied by both smokers and non-smokers. Using observations of house dust composition, they estimated the cancer risk by applying the most recent official toxicology information.
They found that for children aged one to six years old, the cancer risks exceeded the limit recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in three quarters of smokers' homes and two thirds of non-smokers' homes. The maximum risk predicted from the third hand smoke levels in a smoker occupied home equated to one extra cancer case per one thousand population exposed.
Lead investigator, Dr Jacqueline Hamilton, from York's Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, said: "The risks of tobacco exposure do not end when a c
|Contact: Caron Lett|
University of York