Posted by: audreybenenati | February 9, 2010

Thirdhand smoke forms indoor carcinogens, Lawrence Berkeley lab scientists report

By Suzanne Bohan
Contra Costa Times

Posted: 02/08/2010 03:48:53 PM PST

Updated: 02/08/2010 08:21:53 PM PST

A common indoor air chemical reacts with residues of tobacco smoke clinging to clothing, skin and surfaces to form potent carcinogens, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory reported in a study published Monday.

A few years ago, researchers began paying closer attention to the potential health effects of "thirdhand smoke," which is a thin layer of toxic substances from tobacco smoke that settles on surfaces long after cigarettes have been extinguished.

The scientists, however, are the first to find that nitrous acid, an indoor air pollutant created by gas appliances, vehicle engines and tobacco smoke, reacts with nicotine found on surfaces.

"We want to make people aware that there’s a potential hazard from thirdhand smoke that has not been recognized before," said Lara Gundel, one of the authors of the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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