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Tobacco Smoke

The Pollutants

Tobacco Smoke

The tobacco smoke test option of Home Air Check looks for specific chemical compounds known to be present in secondhand smoke, sometimes referred to as environmental tobacco smoke or passive smoke, as well as third hand smoke, commonly thought of as stale tobacco smoke or tobacco smoke residue.

While tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds, many of these chemicals can also be emitted by other sources.  In addition, many are at such low levels that they can’t be monitored, or are not volatile enough to stay in the air for very long. Thus, the ability to predict that tobacco smoke is present in the air, especially after smoking activity has ceased, becomes a much more difficult task. However, by utilizing sophisticated sample collection and analysis methodologies with detection limits in the 0.1 ng/L range, our tobacco smoke test is able to isolate specific chemical markers that have been determined by recent leading edge research to be present when tobacco is or has been burned. This makes it an invaluable test for anyone wanting to know if an apartment, home, or house they’re planning to occupy can be considered a smoke-free environment.

The facts about secondhand smoke are sobering. Secondhand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke, is classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO). Tobacco smoke is also linked to other kinds of diseases and even deaths, and environmental tobacco smoke is a known asthma trigger. Infants, children, and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to health risks from the effects of tobacco smoke, and recent research by doctors at Boston’s Mass General Hospital for Children and published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that third hand smoke contains the same dangerous carcinogens as second hand smoke. The U. S. Surgeon General has declared that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.