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Identifying and Measuring SHS in Multi-Unit Dwellings

Institution: Stanford University
Investigator(s): Lynn Hildemann, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2010 (Cycle 19) Grant #: 19CA-0123 Award: $762,417
Subject Area: Public Health, Public Policy, and Economics
Award Type: California Research Award
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
A nonsmoker living in a multi-unit dwelling can be exposed to significant levels of secondhand smoke, if there is a smoker living in an adjacent unit. Cigarette smoke emitted inside the condominium or apartment of the smoker, or on his or her balcony, can readily enter the nonsmoker’s unit via windows and through small cracks and openings (such as plug sockets) in the shared walls. Once inside, the secondhand smoke pollutants will take hours to dissipate. Since the average person spends more than 60% of the time at home, the intrusion of secondhand smoke can contribute greatly to a nonsmoker’s total daily exposure to many potentially harmful air pollutants. This is of great concern because the higher the exposure to a pollutant, the greater the human body’s intake of that pollutant, and the greater the potential health risks. Using a single pollution measurement device, it is almost impossible to conclusively prove that elevated pollution levels inside a nonsmoker’s condominium or apartment are due to secondhand smoke. The reason is because there are other activities inside residences that can generate air pollutants, such as incense burning, use of cleaning products, fireplaces, and cooking. Even though the smell of cigarette smoke is readily recognizable, without knowing what other activities might be occurring in adjacent units, one cannot know how much or little of the elevated levels of a potentially harmful pollutant can be attributed to the intrusion of secondhand smoke. The goal of this project is to develop and test a method that will allow us, affordably and accurately, to determine with confidence how much secondhand smoke is present in a person’s apartment or condominium. Our method will include monitors that are able to automatically log pollution measurements every minute or so – this will allow us to record in detail how much the pollution levels vary with time over a timescale of days. First, using laboratory experiments, we will determine what combination of pollutant measurements will allow us to uniquely identify and quantify secondhand smoke levels. This characteristic mixture of pollutants will represent the “chemical fingerprint” for secondhand smoke. We will verify that this source fingerprint for secondhand smoke is distinct from the source fingerprints for other common indoor pollution sources. Second, we will test our fingerprinting approach inside a multi-unit dwelling where we can control, as a function of time, what emissions are occurring in the unit(s) adjacent to the one being monitored. We will measure the timing and duration of elevations in concentration occurring inside the nonsmoking unit, as well as inside the smoking unit and in the hallway immediately outside of these units. With these data, we can test whether it is possible, by comparing the timing and magnitude of the variations in pollution concentration, to pinpoint which unit the secondhand smoke is originating from. Lastly, we will collect measurements inside several multi-unit dwellings known to have secondhand smoke issues, both inside each impacted unit and in the hallway. This will show us how high the pollutant concentrations can reach in a nonsmoker’s residence, and we will be able to quantitatively determine much of the pollutants are specifically attributable to intrusion of secondhand smoke.
Publications

Identifuing and Quantifying Secondhand Smoke in Source and Receptor Rooms: Logistic Regression and Chemical Mass Balance Approaches
Periodical: Indoor Air Index Medicus:
Authors: Dacunto, PJ, Cheng K.C, Acevedo-Bolton V, Klepeis NE, Repace JL, Ott WR, Hildemann L ART
Yr: 2013 Vol: Nbr: Abs: Pg: