Remediation of Thirdhand Tobacco Smoke with Ozone: Probing Deep Reservoirs in Carpets

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Journal Article

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We assessed the efficacy of ozonation as an indoor remediation strategy by evaluating how a carpet serves as a sink and long-term source of thirdhand tobacco smoke (THS) while protecting contaminants absorbed in deep reservoirs by scavenging ozone.
Specimens from unused carpet that was exposed to smoke in the lab (“fresh THS”) and contaminated carpets retrieved from smokers’ homes (“aged THS”) were treated with 1000 ppb ozone in bench-scale tests. Nicotine was partially removed from fresh THS specimens by volatilization and oxidation, but it was not significantly eliminated from aged THS samples. By contrast, most of the 24 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons detected in both samples were partially removed by ozone. One of the home-aged carpets was installed in an 18 m3 room-sized chamber, where its nicotine emission rate was 950 ng day−1 m−2. In a typical home, such daily emissions could amount to a non-negligible fraction of the nicotine released by smoking one cigarette. The operation of a commercial ozone generator for a total duration of 156 min, reaching concentrations up to 10,000 ppb, did not significantly reduce the carpet nicotine loading (26−122 mg m−2). Ozone reacted primarily with carpet fibers, rather than with THS, leading to short-term emissions of aldehydes and aerosol particles. Hence, by being absorbed deeply into carpet fibers, THS constituents can be partially shielded from ozonation.


Environmental Science Technology



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