A new study found that thirdhand smoke or airborne residue from tobacco smoke can remain in a home for years even with no smokers around.
The study appeared Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.
Scientists found smoking-related chemical residue on furniture, clothing, and other places. The chemical particles can become airborne and residents can breathe those chemicals known as thirdhand smoke. The smoke can also reach the home via its AC system.
Researchers conducted their study in an empty classroom where no one had been smoking for years. They measured the levels of thirdhand smoke with an aerosol mass spectrometer.
Their initial goal was to track airborne particles that reach the classroom when they come from outdoors. The spectrometer revealed a chemical signature in the classroom that had nothing to do with outdoor particles.
Thirdhand Smoke Can Reach a Room via Its Ventilation system
Researchers concluded that the chemical signature pinpointed thirdhand smoke, which accounted for nearly one-third of the room’s air mass.
“To add that much additional mass through one type of process is pretty large,” noted Lead author Peter DeCarlo. He added that his team hadn’t expected that at all.
Study authors underlined that no one had been smoking in the classroom in the last 20 to 25 years. So, they wanted to learn how the tobacco smoke reached the room. They found that the chemical compounds from smoking were transported into the classroom via other tiny particles in the air.
The mystery was solved when researchers found that the classroom was next to a hall where students were sneaking to have a smoke. Also, the classroom was located near an office with which it shared the HVAC system. In the office, several smokers worked.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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