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How do toxins deposited on furniture affect health?
Smoking not only endangers the health of those affected, but also affects people in the area. The smoke can also penetrate furniture and clothing. This so-called third hand smoke can negatively affect the tissues of the liver and brain, even if you are a non-smoker. The exhaled smoke is deposited, for example, in furniture, curtains, carpets, cars and clothing and can get into the body from there. The deposited toxins can even change chemically over time to become even more toxic and harmful.
The scientists at the University of California, Riverside, recently analyzed the effects of third hand smoke (THS). The residues of smoke deposited on furniture and objects can damage the brain and liver. The doctors released a press release on the results of their study.
How did THS affect mice in experiments?
The exhaled smoke from cigarettes, for example, is deposited on the surface of all kinds of objects and furniture. Exposure to THS leads to type 2 diabetes, hyperactivity, liver and lung damage and complications in wound healing in mice. Using a new system, the scientists mimicked human exposure to THS in smokers' homes. Only one month of exposure to THS has a significant impact on health, which can damage the liver and brain, the experts explain.
Exposure to THS toxins increased the concentration of stress hormones
Since the damage to the liver reduces the ability of the organ to detoxify the body, this can also lead to further damage. The researchers also found that the levels of the stress hormones continued to increase even one month after exposure. Increased levels of stress hormones were found two months, four months and even six months after exposure, the scientists report. Previous studies by the team had already found that mice exposed to THS were less social. In addition, the mice became addicted to THS over time.
Negative effects of long-term exposure to THS
Our goal was to determine the minimum time required to cause physiological changes in mice when exposed to THS, explains author Manuela Martins-Green. "We found that exposure to THS leads to liver damage after just one month, exposure to THS causes further molecular damage for two months and even greater damage after four to six months," adds the expert. The mice were also found to be insulin resistant after long-term exposure to THS.
Cars, houses and hotel rooms of smokers are likely to be contaminated by THS
Contamination from THS can be absorbed through the skin and through breathing. While the research was not done on humans, we should be aware that hotel rooms, cars, and smokers' homes are likely to be contaminated by THS, explains Professor Martins-Green.
THS toxins are resistant to cleaning agents
Most people are unaware that they are exposed to THS, or they don't believe in the harm that exposure to THS can cause, University of California doctors explain. The THS toxins are invisible, but can be smelled and they remain on surfaces for many years because they are even resistant to strong cleaning agents, the researchers report.
Children are particularly susceptible to the intake of THS
Because THS is absorbed through the skin, children are particularly vulnerable because they are in close contact with household surfaces. The children often ingest the toxins by putting their hands in their mouths. The children can also absorb the harmful toxins through the skin. When children live in households with smokers, tobacco metabolites can be found in their urine. The experts also explained that tobacco-derived carcinogens, which are also referred to as tobacco-specific nitrosamines, were found.
The population must be protected from THS
Exposure to tobacco smoke, which is deposited on surfaces in houses and in house dust, is a completely new form of toxicity. The fact that harmful chemicals from tobacco smoke deposit and then change their chemistry over time to become even more toxic and carcinogenic is of major importance for the health of the population, and especially the health of children, the researchers explain. The results of the study show that people who continue to smoke in homes pose a significant risk to the health of others. Doctors urgently need to develop methods or products that can be used to remove THS toxins. (as)