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CA Consortium on Thirdhand Smoke Exposure & Health Effects

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Neal Benowitz, M.D.
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 28) Grant #: 28PT-0074 Award: $454,842
Subject Area: Environmental Exposure/Toxicology
Award Type: Integrated Research Project

Initial Award Abstract
The term thirdhand tobacco smoke (THS) refers to tobacco smoke residues in indoor environments that remain, react and/or re-emit from materials and/or re-suspend from surfaces (dust). Over the last decade the concept that THS is a distinct harmful entity has emerged, as well as concern about its health risks for adults and especially children. For the last 6 years the Consortium has been supported by TRDRP to build a strong science base for understanding the health effects of exposure to THS. The Consortium now seeks funding for 3 more years, with an emphasis on carrying out laboratory and field studies that will help in translating THS research findings so that they are useful and accessible to health practitioners, public health organizations, advocacy groups, and the public. We also intend to increase dissemination of our THS research, supporting policy modeling and development. We propose to extend our basic science research to identify biomarkers (tracers of harm inside the body)that will be useful in studies of human health effects, and examine factors associated with developmental and genetic vulnerability to THS-induced injury. We will investigate mechanisms of THS-induced adverse effects in cell models and in animal studies to further understanding the potential risks and pathways for THS damage. We propose more detailed studies of human exposure and effects of THS, including applying biomarkers that were developed in preclinical studies, with a particular focus on exposure by contact through skin and uptake of THS in children. To answer the need for diagnostic tools and solutions to THS contamination, we propose to develop standard methods for assessing THS contamination in various environments, and test the effects of various remediation methods on THS constituents. We propose to disseminate our research widely, and engage with public and private stakeholders to develop, implement and promote tobacco control policies that will reduce the harmful impacts of THS on public health. Cost-effectiveness of prevention, remediation and treatment strategies will also be considered. These efforts will inform new basic as well as applied science and, with involvement of the public, may nurture widespread understanding of risks related to thirdhand smoke contamination and exposures.