Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Smoking & Lead Exposure Have Similar Effects

We all know about first hand and second hand cigarette smoke causing adverse health problems such as nutritional deficiencies & lung cancer - but have you ever heard of third hand smoke? (Neither had I till I read the latest cig news over on The Canary Report!)
Adult smokers already know what they are doing is not the healthy choice for their body, but what science had not yet realized was even the particles/residue transferring from a smoker's hair, clothes and skin to their children were causing kids learning disabilities, a similar reaction as to being exposed to low levels of lead.

"When you smoke – anyplace – toxic particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothing,” says lead study author, Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, assistant director of the MGHfC Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy. “When you come into contact with your baby, even if you’re not smoking at the time, she comes in contact with those toxins. And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby in your breastmilk.” Winickoff notes that nursing a baby if you’re a smoker is still preferable to bottle-feeding, however.

Particulate matter from tobacco smoke has been proven toxic. According to the National Toxicology Program, these 250 poisonous gases, chemicals, and metals include hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, butane, ammonia, toluene (found in paint thinners), arsenic, lead, chromium (used to make steel), cadmium (used to make batteries), and polonium-210 (highly radioactive carcinogen). Eleven of the compounds are classified as Group 1 carcinogens, the most dangerous.


Third-hand smoke can remain indoors even long after the smoking has stopped. Similar to low-level lead exposure, low levels of tobacco particulates have been associated with cognitive deficits among children, and the higher the exposure level, the lower the reading score. These findings underscore the possibility that even extremely low levels of these compounds may be neurotoxic and, according to the researchers, justify restricting all smoking in indoor areas inhabited by children."

Personally speaking my parents didn't smoke, but my grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and everyone under the sun smoked around me. I learned early on how bad the first, second and third hand smoke was when I watched my best friend in elementary school lose both her grandparents to cancer caused by smoking. Then by the time I was a teenager my own over exposure led to cig reactions like coughing up blood, developing sinus infections, fevers, and long drawn out illnesses after spending time with a smoker. When I turned 20 my own grandfather (Pepere) who had smoked blackberry vines as a teen on the bayou and unfiltered camels most his life developed lung cancer and died nine months after being diagnosed.
As someone who now has strong reactions to even the smell of it on someone's clothes I am not surprised to hear reports of how dangerous the third hand smoke residue is. Possibly what makes the matter entirely worse for smokers is the fact that big companies manufacture this stuff with chemicals, bleached papers, additives and other substances that make it way more carcinogenic then the actual tobacco plant is to begin with. Add to the equation that they are spraying these crops with toxic pesticides and it makes for one hell of a smoke to inhale.

FIY: Second hand smoke kills 3 times more children then any other cancer combined.

1 comment:

Susie Collins said...

I love when something I post inspires you to post something and add your thoughts to it :-)

I smoked as a teenager and then again for a couple years in my 20s. What made me stop was the STINK in my hair and clothes and house, and on my hands and skin. I finally just got GROSSED OUT. And that's the particulate matter they are talking about in this report-- it's highly toxic, too! Now I nearly keel over if a smoker walks by me.