Friday, December 17, 2010

When smokers move out, carcinogens remain

Thirdhand smoke hasn’t yet made its way into the Surgeon General’s warnings, but researchers are focusing on the issue, particularly something called tobacco-specific nitrosamines. As nicotine lingers in an indoor environment, it oxidizes into carcinogenic nitrosamines. That chemical reaction was documented in a laboratory setting by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley and the findings published earlier this year. The paper, titled “Formation of carcinogens indoors by surface-mediated reactions of nicotine with nitrous acid, leading to potential third-hand smoke hazards,” appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More>