Research Portfolio

Funding Opportunities

Join our Mailing List
Join our mailing list to be notified of new funding opportunities.

Your Email

To receive information about funding opportunities, events, and program updates.

Remediation of Tobacco Toxicants Polluting Low-Income Multiunit Homes

Institution: San Diego State University Research Foundation
Investigator(s): Penelope JE Quintana, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Award Cycle: 2018 (Cycle 27) Grant #: 27IP-0028 Award: $601,884
Subject Area: Environmental Exposure/Toxicology
Award Type: High Impact Pilot Award

Initial Award Abstract

Tobacco smoke residue is known to pollute homes long after smoking has ceased. Stale tobacco odor is a recognized problem for residents moving into homes formerly occupied by smokers, as well as for landlords and realtors. Tobacco residue, also called thirdhand smoke, contains toxic chemicals and carcinogens. This is expected as tobacco smoke is known to contain many toxic compounds. A concern for many affected people is “How can this tobacco residue be removed or reduced? How risky is this residue?” This research will directly address these questions. We will investigate whether a commercial cleaning can reduce toxic chemicals related to tobacco smoke residue in house dust samples from low income homes. We will measure these samples before and after cleaning. We choose to focus on house dust samples as children are known to be at risk from toxicants in contaminated house dust, and well established methods exist for determining exposure and risks to children. Due to their hand-to-mouth behaviors and short stature, children ingest much more house dust than adults. In addition, resuspension of dust near the floor results in breathing in dust, and an increase in skin contact coupled with a thinner skin relative to adults can lead to significant skin exposures. Therefore, tobacco residue exposures through house dust can pose a risk to children. In terms of cleaning up tobacco residue, little is available to guide cleaning methods and remediation efforts, and no standards exist to help decide if clean-up has been achieved. Indeed, some of the methods described on the internet, such as using ozone generators to remove odors, likely result in secondary formation of toxic products. This study will provide information on the levels of toxic components of thirdhand smoke and the effectiveness of commercially available deep cleaning procedures on reducing thirdhand smoke residue in real home settings. We have already collected these samples from low income homes in San Diego County. We will measure a wide range of toxic chemicals in the dust and calculate risks to children from contaminated house dust both before and after the cleaning was performed. We hypothesize that levels of these pollutants in dust and on surfaces were reduced through the cleaning protocols and that risks to children will be measurably reduced.