For years, health experts have warned of the dangers of secondhand smoke. But now, researchers are sounding the alarm over the risks of “third-hand smoke.”
Why third hand smoke is harmful to health
A study in the journal Pediatrics reports that tobacco smoke contamination lingers long after the air has cleared. Particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into hair, clothing, upholstery, bedding and carpeting, posing health hazards to babies and children that come into contact with the toxins.
Cigarettes contain 250 poisonous gases, chemicals and metals, including hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, arsenic, lead and polonium-210 (a highly radioactive carcinogen).
How children become exposed to third-hand smoke
Researchers say that babies and small children are especially susceptible to third-hand smoke exposure because they inhale near contaminated surfaces, as well as crawl, play on, touch, and put their mouths on, tainted areas.
Parents who smoke in the house when their children aren’t home, or light up in the car when the kids aren’t buckled in, are under the impression they are keeping the kids safe from cigarettes. The new research proves otherwise.
Researchers say that the message about the dangers of secondhand smoke has hit home with parents. Now, it’s time for the news about the hazards of third-hand smoke to spread.
How to protect your children from third-hand smoke
To protect your children from third-hand smoke:
Date: March 2009