Can We Just Ban Them and Be Done With It?
I tell you these Nanny State types really are grating. Now it isn’t just second hand smoke, but third hand smoke. What is third hand smoke? That smell from people that have just had a cigerette. That is apparently a super duper deadly toxic brew of chemicals that can KILL!!! Run!!!!
Third-hand smoke is what one smells when a smoker gets in an elevator after going outside for a cigarette, he said, or in a hotel room where people were smoking. “Your nose isn’t lying,” he said. “The stuff is so toxic that your brain is telling you: ’Get away.’”
This reminds me of the scene in The Ice Storm where Elijah Wood is talking about molecules and how when you smell the odor of fecal matter in a bathroom you are really breathing in feces molecules.
Because of molecules we are connected to the outside world from our bodies. Like when you smell things, because when you smell a smell it’s not really a smell, it’s a part of the object that has come off of it, molecules. So when you smell something bad, it’s like in a way you’re eating it. This is why you should not really smell things, in the same way that you don’t eat everything in the world around you because as a smell, it gets inside of you. So the next time you go into the bathroom after someone else has been there, remember what kinds of molecules you are in fact eating.–Mikey Carver (Elijah Wood)
Anyways, back to the article,
Among the substances in third-hand smoke are hydrogen cyanide, used in chemical weapons; butane, which is used in lighter fluid; toluene, found in paint thinners; arsenic; lead; carbon monoxide; and even polonium-210, the highly radioactive carcinogen that was used to murder former Russian spy Alexander V. Litvinenko in 2006. Eleven of the compounds are highly carcinogenic.
I love this. Cyanide is used in chemcial weapons! OMGWTF?!?!?! What you might also find interesting is that cyanide compounds are given off by a plethora of household items when burned. For example, all that tupper ware you have sitting in your kitchen? Basically a pile of chemical weapons. The foam in various furniture cushions? Chemical weapons. Even wool and silk when burned….chemical weapons. And sodium nitroprusside, a cyanide compound that is used in hospitals to reduce the blood pressure of people in hypertensive emergency….chemical weapon. I know, calling plastic food storage containers, foam cushions, a wool sweater, and a drug used in hospital emergencies a chemical weapon is ridiculous. But so is implying the minute amounts of cyanide given off by a person who just had a butt a chemical weapon ridiculous. Also several of these chemicals are found in household products.
Granted, the notion of smoking near an infant or while in the car with your infant–even with the window cracked–is probably not a good idea. The idea behind the danger of toxic substances is that the does makes the poison. A minute dose (i.e. a smoker passing you in the hallway at work) of something like cyanide is very unlikely to have an impact. However, infants are more susceptible to toxins than older children and especially adults. If you are a smoker and you plan on having kids, you should quit. At the very least it will be good for you, and you’ll likely be around longer to enjoy your kids. But if you decide not too, this idea that the smell that lingers on your clothes is a danger? Probably not the case. If you went to your pediatrician after passing a guy who was working with paints and paint thinners most of the day worried and frantic, he’d probably be a bit upset with you.
And one last thing, the article doesn’t correctly describe the study. The study isn’t about determining the dangers of third hand smoke, but about people’s attitudes towards it once they are feed the information about cyanide being a chemical weapon. In short, it is a poll of how people’s attitudes change and one of the basic beliefs of the doctors doing the study is that there is no such thing as a safe level of exposure to cigerette smoke. Even exposure for a millisecond is dangerous.