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Toxins in SHS | About the Smoke | A Chemist's View
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Toxins and Carcinogens in Secondhand Smoke

A Chemist's view

As a chemist I have worked with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a component of tobacco smoke and known carcinogen.

When I worked with PAHs I would wear gloves and goggles, and open containers only with my hands extended into a ventilated hood in order to protect myself. Annual blood tests were taken to verify that I was not being exposed to these compounds.

These steps were taken because it was my employer's responsibility to protect me, and as a chemist I was keenly aware of the risks and precautions that needed to be taken when working with these substances. Very few chemists acquire lung cancer from exposure at work.

Sadly, the general public is less aware and less well-protected.

More than 50,000 nonsmokers die each year because of secondhand smoke.

Frank Dill of Blue Ash is a chemist who manages RaymondWaltersCollege's Science Learning Lab.

 

 

 

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