Pediatrics January 2009, Vol. 123, No. 1, pp. e74-e79
This recent study details a problem many of us already felt. Being around a smoke area, even after the smoke is visibly gone, is still a health concern. It doesn't matter if you smoke outside your house on the porch, or wait until your children are gone; you still are exposing them to dangerous, toxic chemicals. Named 'third-hand smoke' by the researchers, this contamination stays behind after the cigarette is put out.
Toxic, chemical particulates from tobacco smoke embed themselves in your hair, clothes,
and surroundings. When you come into contact with a baby or child, they are exposed to
those toxins, even if you're not smoking at the time.
Tobacco smoke contains 250 poisonous gases, chemicals, heavy metals, and radioactive
substances. Some of these are hydrogen cyanide (used to execute prisoners), carbon
monoxide (a common gas used to commit suicide), butane, ammonia, toluene, arsenic, lead,
chromium, cadmium, and polonium-210 (a highly radioactive carcinogen).
Like most other environmental toxins, small children may be especially susceptible to
third-hand smoke exposure. 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
This research might also explain how sensitive individuals can become ill when they enter a
Space where someone has smoked previously.
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