As it stands today, smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in Canada. It kills more than 37,000 Canadians each year; that is more than car accidents, suicide, murders and AIDS combined.

It took years for scientists to prove that cigarette smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and potentially early death as well. Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals; 69 of which can lead to cancer. It took another few decades for them to ascertain that second-hand smoke is as bad as firsthand smoke and could lead to similar consequences. Now there is worry about another cigarette-related phenomenon – third-hand smoke.

smoke on black backgroundNew studies show that third-hand cigarette smoke can pose a serious health risk as well. Third-hand smoke occurs when chemicals from nicotine, cyanide, radioactive polonium-210, lead, arsenic, butane, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and butanes are found on the surfaces of places where the chemicals were smoked.

The problem becomes even bigger when the residue continues to emit toxins long after smoking has occurred. The term that best describes the issue is “off-gassing”. Off-gassing occurs when substances from smoke that have been left on surfaces are released back into the air as gasses.

Study Overview

University of California, Riverside, researchers completed a study last year on mice to better understand the consequences of third hand smoking. Their findings were released early this year. For 6 months, mice lived in ventilated cages containing things that were exposed to second hand smoke. At the end of 6 month cycle, the team found significant damage to mice’s liver and lungs. As well, some wounds took longer to heal, similar to the kind of slow healing we see in human smokers. More info

How Does Exposure Occur?

Third hand smoke exposure can occur through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin.

Who is most vulnerable?

Babies and toddlers – are the most vulnerable because they crawl on carpets, put hands on toys, place toys in mouths and potentially swallow and inhale chemicals from third hand-smoke.

Hotel Maids – another group exposed to third-hand smoke is hotel maids. They are the ones who sweep, vacuum, change linens, and dust the rooms of smoking guests. Science hasn’t yet quantified the amount of exposure that poses a health risk and hasn’t determined with conviction what those health risks may be.

Home & Apartment Owners – If you just moved into a home or apartment that was formerly owned by a smoker(s), you may be exposed to third hand smoke as well. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing if you are exposed to smoke, without asking the previous owner. And if you are being exposed it is quite difficult to get rid of.

How To Get Rid Of Third Hand Smoke:

To get rid of the smoke, experts have a few suggestions, such as thoroughly cleaning the home with detergent, repainting the walls, replacing or steam cleaning the carpets, and cleaning the HVAC system.

The studies are in the preliminary stage of research. There is much more work to be done to identify the extent of the problems, the health risks, and the effective ways to get rid of the chemical compounds.

About Kleen Rite:

If you’re looking for high quality and affordable professional carpet cleaning services in Toronto, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Hamilton, Brampton, Niagara, Kitchener-Waterloo or anywhere in the Golden Horseshoe, you’ve come to the right place.

No matter how big or small, Kleen Rite gets the job done right the first time. We take pride in our high quality work and proven carpet cleaning techniques.

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