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Thirdhand Smoke Damages DNA

Posted Jul 19 2013 10:08pm
Posted on July 17, 2013, 6 a.m. in Environment Cancer
Thirdhand Smoke Damages DNA

While tobacco smoking is largely accepted as a significant source of primary indoor air pollutants, it is only recently that thirdhand smoke -- the invisible remains of cigarette smoke that deposit on carpeting, clothing, furniture and other surfaces – has become  recognized as a contributor to indoor pollution.  . Previous studies have shown that that nicotine in thirdhand smoke can react with the ozone in indoor air and surfaces like clothing and furniture, to form other pollutants. Lara Gundel, from Berkeley Lab (California, USA), and colleagues report that thirdhand smoke may be a major cause of significant genetic damage in human cells. Further, the team warns that chronic exposure is worse than acute exposure, with the chemical compounds in samples exposed to chronic thirdhand smoke existing in higher concentrations and causing more DNA damage than samples exposed to acute thirdhand smoke, suggesting that the residue becomes more harmful over time.  Writing that: “[Thirdhand smoke] exposure is related to increased oxidative stress and could be an important contributing factor in [thirdhand smoke] -mediated toxicity,” the study authors submit that: “The findings of this study demonstrate for the first time that exposure to [thirdhand smoke] is genotoxic in human cell lines.”

Bo Hang, Altaf H. Sarker, Christopher Havel, Saikat Saha, Tapas K. Hazra, Lara A. Gundel, et al.  “Thirdhand smoke causes DNA damage in human cells.”  Mutagenesis (2013) 28 (4): 381-391.

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Estimated to affect 125 million people worldwide, psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the immune system that commonly manifests in the form of thick, red, scaly patches on the skin.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts, USA) found that the risk of coronary disease is almost 30% greater in psoriasis patients, and stroke risk exceeded the rate of the general population by 12%. The risk did not vary by severity of psoriasis, as patients with moderate and severe disease had a similar prevalence of heart disease and stroke. Separately, a Copenhagen University (Denmark) team studied nearly 50,000 patients who had experienced their first heart attack between 2002 and 2006, following the 462 patients with psoriasis for an average of 19.5 months and the 48,935 controls for an average of 22 months. The team found that heart attack patients with psoriasis were 26% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, or suffer from recurrent heart attacks or strokes, and were 18% more likely to die from all causes than those without the inflammatory skin disease.

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