“Third-hand” Smoke Affects Children

March 4th, 2009 - 10:34 pm ICT by GD  

If you thought smoking when your children are not around is the only way you can avoid them from inhaling the toxins, here’s a new report that will make you think otherwise. Even when you are smoking outside home or when the children are away you expose them to the toxins in your clothes, hair and skin, according to the journal Pediatrics of the Harvard Medical School and other medical schools in US. Researchers call this the “third hand” smoke.

Esther Hunter, registered nurse at the Baxter County Department of Health Unit Maternal Infant Program Nurse, says, “As you smoke, toxins from the tobacco smoke stay in your hair and clothing. The research showed that when parents came into contact with their baby or all other children — even if parents are not smoking at the time — the children come in contact with those toxins.” Smaller children are more vulnerable to being exposed to thirdhand smoke because they tend to crawl near contaminated places or even play on them.

When you smoke the toxins cling on to your body and when you come home and your child sits on your knee, you are putting your child to risk of picking up the toxins from your clothing and skin. The toxin remain long after you extinguish a cigarette and may contain more than 4000 toxic gases, chemicals, heavy metals among more dangerous stuff like hydrogen cyanide, toluene, arsenic, chromium, cadmium and a highly radioactive carcinogen called polonium-210.

Explaining the health risks you are putting your child into, Hunter says,”Similar to low-level lead exposure, low levels of tobacco toxins have been documented with cognitive deficits among children; the higher the exposure level, the lower the reading score.

These findings underscore the possibility that even extremely low levels of these toxic compounds can be damaging and, according to the researchers, emphasized to never smoke indoors or in enclosed areas such as vehicles inhabited by children.”

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