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Reducing exposure to thirdhand smoke in multiunit housing

Institution: San Diego State University Research Foundation
Investigator(s): Penelope JE Quintana, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 28) Grant #: 28PT-0079 Award: $1,119,720
Subject Area: Environmental Exposure/Toxicology
Award Type: Integrated Research Project

Initial Award Abstract
This study will recruit nonsmoking residents living in multiunit housing homes. In these homes, we will measure tobacco smoke residue (also known as thirdhand smoke) that remains on walls, floors, carpet, and other surfaces, and in dust and air if the unit has previously been exposed to tobacco smoke. We will also measure personal exposure of the occupants to thirdhand smoke. One of the most common questions from the general public, realtors, and others is how to clean homes that have been smoked in for years so that nonsmokers are not exposed to the toxic residue. A related question is how risky are such environments. From our previous studies, we know that homes can be contaminated by previous smoking in the home as well as by drifting tobacco smoke, even if current residents do not and have never smoked. In highly THS polluted homes identified by screening, as well as low-polluted homes as a comparison group, we will recruit a subset of homes with nonsmoking residents for careful measurement of thirdhand smoke chemicals in dust, air and surfaces. We will also measure exposure of the youngest resident through analysis of urine and saliva. We will test simple devices being developed by the Thirdhand Smoke Consortium members for measuring thirdhand smoke contamination on surfaces and in air, and on a person wearing a silicone wristband. Following this measurement, commercial companies will apply a cleaning and remediation protocol developed by the THS Consortium to the homes. We will then evaluate how effective this cleaning was for removing thirdhand smoke. The purpose of this project is to provide answers to current knowledge gaps about thirdhand smoke, including identifying chemicals of concern in thirdhand smoke, how to test for them, and how to remove them. We will also calculate risk reductions to children achieved through remediation of homes. Our results will be immediately useful to concerned residents, landlords, realtors, tobacco control advocates, and others. We will be able to give practical advice about how to test for thirdhand smoke. For example, which surfaces and areas in a home are most polluted, and how many samples have to be collected to obtain an accurate measure. We will test simple methods for measuring thirdhand smoke residue that could be used by people to check their own homes. We will disseminate our findings in collaboration with the THS Consortium subproject 8, the Dissemination, Outreach, and Resource Center Core.