Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Third-hand Smoke Puts Your Baby at Risk

Jonathan Winickoff, a pediatrician at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston was quoted in the Scientific American defining third-hand smoke as, "tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette has been extinguished."

When that article was written in January of 2009, Winickoff discussed his research into the danger of third-hand smoke and the levels of toxins left behind after a smoker puts their cigarette out. But at that time, he knew of no research done that linked this recent discovery to disease.

Now, a new study out of Germany takes the research a step further, showing, for the first time, that these toxins are not only transferred to infants from their care-takers clothing, but that the toxic substances penetrate through the infant's skin "into deeper tissue layers," and do produce harmful effects in the exposed baby or toddler's skin.

The "harmful effects" researchers found to occur were massive damage to the skin cells of the child, "changing their shape and even, where the concentration was high, died off," and also that "nerve cells, which are particularly active during the early stages of development, showed clear changes and were no longer able to connect properly with one another."

So if mom or dad take a quick cigarette break, even if it's outside, and then pick up their little one, they are putting the child's health at risk, according to the study.

To read the full press release on the study click here.

To read Scientic American article from January 2009, mentioned above, click here.

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