Analysis of House Dust to Determine Risk of Third-Hand Smoke Exposure - - Chromatography Online
Analysis of House Dust to Determine Risk of Third-Hand Smoke Exposure

The Column
Volume 10, Issue 14, pp. 5

(Photo Credit: Jonathan Kantor/Getty Image)
The risks associated with smoking tobacco and the potential effects of second-hand smoke are widely accepted by the medical community and have led to the introduction of smoking bans in public places in a number of different countries. Regardless of this, non-smokers are still at risk from tobacco smoke long after a cigarette has been extinguished. A new study in the journal Environmental International performed gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) to highlight the risk of potential third-hand smoke (THS) exposure (1).

THS is a relatively new term to describe tobacco residues left behind on clothing and surfaces after tobacco has been smoked.Nicotine, one of the most abundant compounds in tobacco smoke, can be released and then react with other atmospheric oxidants to create secondary pollutants such as tobacco-specif c nitrosamines (TSNAs). Selected TSNAs have been shown to be carcinogenic, such as 4-(methylnitrosoamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). The authors state that exposure to THS occurs mainly through ingestion of settled house dust, and through contact with contaminated surfaces and fabrics. Co-author of the study Jacqui Hamilton told The Column: “There is a lot of skepticism about third-hand smoke exposure. We wanted to find out the concentrations of tobacco-specif c nitrosamines (TSNA) stuck to house dust samples collected from
people’s homes.”

Dust samples were collected from 46 homes between October 2011 and May 2012 in northeastern Spain, mostly from flats in urban areas. Almost half of the samples were taken from the homes of smokers, and the other half were taken from non-smoking households. Samples were extracted with pressurized-liquid extraction (PLE), and then analyzed by comprehensive gas chromatography coupled with a nitrogen chemiluminescence detector (GC×GC–NCD) to detect eight non-specific volatile N-nitrosamine, five TSNAs, and nicotine.

The compounds detected were found to be at greater concentrations in samples taken from smoking households than non-smoking households. Nicotine was also found in non-smoking households — demonstrating the reach of tobacco smoke compounds and exposure of non-smokers. Hamilton commented on the results: “These are the first quantitative measurements of TSNA in house dust. The levels were much higher in smokers homes, but we did f nd traces of tobacco smoke in all homes, even smoke free ones.” She added: “What we need is more data. We collected samples from a small number of homes. But I hope this information can be used to change people’s opinion of the potential risks of third-hand smoke.”— B.D.


1. N. Ramirez, M.Z. Ozel, A.C. Lewis, R.M. Marcé, F. Borrull, and J.F. Hamilton, Environmental International 71, 139–147 (2014).

This story originally appeared in The Column. Click here to view that issue.


blog comments powered by Disqus
LCGC E-mail Newsletters
Global E-newsletters subscribe here:



Column Watch: Ron Majors, established authority on new column technologies, keeps readers up-to-date with new sample preparation trends in all branches of chromatography and reviews developments. LATEST: When Bad Things Happen to Good Food: Applications of HPLC to Detect Food Adulteration

Perspectives in Modern HPLC: Michael W. Dong is a senior scientist in Small Molecule Drug Discovery at Genentech in South San Francisco, California. He is responsible for new technologies, automation, and supporting late-stage research projects in small molecule analytical chemistry and QC of small molecule pharmaceutical sciences. LATEST: HPLC for Characterization and Quality Control of Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibodies

MS — The Practical Art: Kate Yu brings her expertise in the field of mass spectrometry and hyphenated techniques to the pages of LCGC. In this column she examines the mass spectrometric side of coupled liquid and gas-phase systems. Troubleshooting-style articles provide readers with invaluable advice for getting the most from their mass spectrometers. LATEST: Radical Mass Spectrometry as a New Frontier for Bioanalysis

LC Troubleshooting: LC Troubleshooting sets about making HPLC methods easier to master. By covering the basics of liquid chromatography separations and instrumentation, John Dolan is able to highlight common problems and provide remedies for them. LATEST: How Much Can I Inject? Part I: Injecting in Mobile Phase

More LCGC Columnists>>

LCGC North America Editorial Advisory Board>>

LCGC Europe Editorial Advisory Board>>

LCGC Editorial Team Contacts>>

Source: The Column,
Click here