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Expos children to secondhand smoke through cntaminated homes

Institution: San Diego State University Research Foundation
Investigator(s): Georg Matt, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2004 (Cycle 13) Grant #: 13RT-0161H Award: $754,504
Subject Area: Epidemiology
Award Type: Research Project Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
When children are exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) they are more vulnerable than adults to suffer negative health effects. The vast majority of SHS exposure among children takes place at home, where protecting children is particularly challenging. This is the case because public health policies for the protection of nonsmokers do not apply to the private homes of smokers and nonsmokers. The proposed study will be the first to examine whether private homes of smokers remain contaminated when they move out and nonsmokers move in. Moreover, this will be the first study to examine whether nonsmokers moving into former smoker homes are exposed to SHS through contaminated dust, air, and surfaces in their homes. The proposed study has four major aims: First, we will determine whether the dust, air, and surfaces in the homes of smokers with young children are contaminated with SHS before they move out. Second, we will study how much contaminated dust, surfaces, and air contribute to the SHS exposure in children of smokers. Third, we will investigate whether homes remain contaminated after smokers move out and nonsmokers move in. Fourth, we will examine whether nonsmokers who move into smoker homes are exposed to SHS through the contaminated home environments.

To examine these questions, we will study 150 homes with children <=11 years during a change of occupancy. In the first part of this study, homes of 100 smokers and 50 nonsmokers will be visited before the current tenants move out. Household dust, air, and surfaces will be examined for evidence of SHS. Children’s urine samples will be investigated for signs of SHS exposure. Parents will be interviewed to learn about their smoking histories, SHS exposure, and cleaning habits. In the second part of the study, the new tenants who move into the smoker homes will be contacted and recruited into the study if they are nonsmokers. Homes will be visited again, and household dust, air, and surfaces will be examined again for evidence of SHS. Urine samples of the youngest resident in each home will be investigated for signs of SHS exposure. The new tenants will be interviewed to collect data on their smoking histories, SHS exposure, and cleaning habits. Data will be analyzed to examine the contamination of smoker homes and the SHS exposure of children living in these homes, and to determine if homes remain contaminated after smokers move out and nonsmokers move in. Finally, data will be analyzed to determine if nonsmokers moving into smoker homes are exposed to SHS smoke through the contaminated homes.

The major accomplishments of this study to date have been to develop and finalize all aspects of the protocol, including subject recruitment, questionnaires, and collection of environmental and biological measures. A strong research team has been hired and trained. As of May 31, 2005 we have completed Part 1 study measures with 13 homes. Year 02 will be devoted to recruiting and measuring subjects, ongoing training and quality control, and sequential processing of data.

This study will provide much-needed data on the importance of dust, surfaces, and air as sources of SHS exposure among young children. Findings from this study will also help further our understanding about the level of contamination of homes vacated by smokers. This study will help inform public policies for protecting nonsmokers from SHS exposure in their homes.