Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at work, at home, and during leisure time: personal exposure measurements by diffusive sampling of airborne 3-Ethenylpyridine

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Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is associated with an increased risk of several diseases. In 2002, the ETS exposure level was studied in a Finnish cross-sectional population sample with a sub-sample of currently working nonsmokers. In all, 123 nonsmokers (25-64 years) reporting at least 1 h of daily exposure to ETS participated in personal exposure measurements. Two 3 M organic vapor monitors, one for work and one for free time, were given to each participant. A 5-day sampling of breathing zone air was based on the passive monitoring of 3-ethenylpyridine (3-EP), a vapor-phase compound specific to tobacco smoke. The 3-EP concentrations ranged from <0.01 to 30 µg•m-3 (n=221), with low exposures as the most frequent. More than half (55%) of the study group was exposed both at work and during free time. The geometric mean concentration for 3-EP at home and during leisure time was 0.07 µg•m-3 (mean sampling time 74 h) and during working hours 0.30 µg•m-3 (mean sampling time 32 h). The study showed that despite the restrictions concerning indoor smoking at work, the ETS exposure seemed to be higher at work than at home or during leisure time. The average exposure levels were similar for men and women.

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