New Cigarette Hazard: ‘Third-Hand Smoke’
January 24, 2009
Even if you choose to smoke outside of your home, or only smoke in your home when your children are not there, you're still exposing them to toxins. New research demonstrates that tobacco smoke contamination lingers even after a cigarette is extinguished, a phenomenon the researchers called "third-hand" smoke.
When you smoke, toxic particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothing. When you come into contact with your baby, your child comes in contact with those toxins, even if you're not smoking at the time.
Particulate matter from tobacco smoke has been proven toxic. It contains 250 poisonous gases, chemicals, and metals -- include hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, butane, ammonia, toluene, arsenic, lead, chromium, cadmium, and polonium-210 (a highly radioactive carcinogen).
Small children may be especially susceptible to third-hand smoke exposure because they crawl and play on potentially contaminated surfaces such as cushions, carpets and the floor. The toxins can get on their hands and can then be ingested.