What is third-hand smoke? It is that film that remains behind after a smoker has vacated a residence or hotel room. For those who are chemically sensitive, you can often smell it, or you will react to it by wheezing and sneezing. For others, it can be a hidden cause of underlying irritation and health problems.
Is Your Indoor Air Quality Safe?
"Pollutants from cigarette smoke may linker long after a smoker has moved out of a home...after the smokers homes had been vacant for two months, nicotine levels in the air were 35 to 95 times as high as in a nonsmoker...Pollutants can coat all the surfaces of a dwelling and seep into every crevice", said Professor Georg E. Matt, San Diego State University. (MSNBC, 12/16/2010 by Linda Carroll)
So many people have become ill with respiratory issues, lung cancer and asthma - and all too often a question that is neglected during examinations is: is there a smoker or has there been a smoker in your home?
Nicotine Residue on Fingertips and in Lab Samples
However, the study conducted by Professor Matt indicates that after studying the nicotine on the fingertips of the residents of 150 homes and a breakdown of cotinine in the urine samples of children. According to the studies, "...there is a presence nicotine on or in the bodies of nonsmokers who had moved into dwellings formerly occupied by smokers. Nicotine levels were seven to eight times higher on the fingertips of nonsmokers who'd moved into a smoker's home compared to nonsmokers who had always lived in a nonsmoking home. Children who'd moved into a home formerly occupied by a smoker had three to five times as much cotinine as those who lived in a nonsmoking home."
What's in Your Hotel Room or Apartment?
Imagine moving into an apartment, a newly purchased home or checking into a hotel room. A few nights or months later your lungs feel constricted when you enter certain rooms, or when you sleep at night.
You might initially attribute this to dust in the air, allergies stress or a seasonal change. But be sure to ask yourself if the issue could be due to third-hand smoke - because you and your family could be impacted. In the meantime, do an extra cleaning with soap/water/bleach in areas where a child might touch a surface and then place fingers in their mouth. Over the long-term remember that indoor air quality can be 10 times worse than outdoor air quality and try to air out your space as often as possible.