by Poojitha Shekar on  September 16, 2020 at 2:06 PM Alcohol & Drug Abuse News
Cleaning Toxic Tobacco Smoke Residues on Household Surfaces is Strenuous
COVID-19 pandemic has created a number of challenges, including that many are spending more time at home than ever before. This is a significant problem for those with neighbors who smoke.

Smoking continues to be a problem in multi-unit housing, and while stay-at-home orders have helped to reduce transmission of COVID-19, they have also increased exposure to secondhand smoke from neighbors.

After the second-hand smoke, the toxic residues of tobacco smoke and e-cigarette vapors remain as third-hand smoke. These chemicals stick to dust and other household surfaces and can build up over a long time and create reservoirs of third-hand toxic smoke.

Third-hand smoke can be hazardous to children and adults with weak immune systems. Also, removal of third-hand smoke is difficult and expensive.

Potential third-hand smoke cleaning methods were examined by a group of researchers led by Georg Matt of San Diego State University. The study, "Remediating Third-hand Smoke Pollution in Multiunit Housing: Temporary Reductions and the Challenges of Persistent Reservoirs," will be published Sept. 15 in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

The researchers looked for nicotine on dusts and house hold surfaces. They checked the homes of strict non-smokers to confirm that it was not caused by the residents or guests but the neighbors or previous residents who smoked.

"We wanted to see if there were any solutions available for people who live in homes that are polluted with third-hand smoke. We explored three options for cleaning, and tested apartments for nicotine contamination before, after, and three months after each cleaning", says Matt.

Households were split into three groups: the first group received dry/damp cleaning (thorough vacuuming and dusting), followed by wet cleaning (professional carpet/furniture steaming and cleaning of all household linens) a month later. The second group received the opposite, and the third group received both cleaning types on the same day .Nicotine contamination was immediately reduced in all three groups following cleaning.

"We would like to be able to tell residents that there is a simple way to remove this contamination permanently, but that is not what we found. What we can say, as a result of this study, is that there are two important steps you can take to reduce third-hand smoke contamination and make your home safer.", Matt continued.

First we should keep household dust as low as possible. Frequent vacuuming of all soft furnishings and floors, and dusting of all hard surfaces, is the best way to reduce third-hand smoke exposure through household dust.

Source: Medindia

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