Your Children and Thirdhand Smoke
When someone smokes indoors, those that use that space can be exposed to thirdhand smoke even a few days later. Carpets, rugs, and furniture fabrics retain nicotine residues and other chemicals if someone has smoked cigarettes near these items. These toxic chemicals can then be transferred onto our skin, clothing, hair, or even back into the air leading to various medical conditions such as asthma, allergies, and sudden infant death syndrome.
According to TIME Magazine, “the residue that cigarette smoke leaves behind is just as unhealthy as secondhand smoke”. Yikes! As if we needed another reason to ban smoking indoors!
Sadly, thirdhand smoke is particularly dangerous to young children, whose small bodies are greatly affected by even small doses of such chemicals and metals. Furthermore, kids are the ones crawling and playing on the floor and thus have more exposure to chemicals that may be trapped in the fibers of rugs. Of course, children aren’t the ones smoking cigarettes, so it isn’t fair for them to be exposed to chemicals that could change their lives.
This research further proves that every part of your furniture’s lifecycle is important. Its best to choose items for your home that are built with sustainable materials, are safe for your family during the item’s “use phase,” and that the item is reusable, biodegradable or compostable to conclude the cycle.
It is up to consumers to ensure that their rugs and fabrics stay clean and safe during their “use phase” by preventing the smoking of cigarettes near them. And if you are a smoker, it is always wise to be mindful of your surroundings: don’t smoke inside a home where children live, and change your shirt after smoking if you are going to interact with children, or people with asthma.
Cameron Bruns is the founder of Boston Green Blog and a contributor to Merida, the premier source for distinctively designed natural rugs with a conscience for sustainability.