Assessment of the exposure of children to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) by different methods.Hum Exp Toxicol. 1999 Apr; 18(4):297-301.HE
1. In order to elucidate the role of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in various acute and chronic illnesses in children, it is important to assess the degree of exposure by suitable methods. For this purpose, we determined the exposure to ETS in 39 children (4-15 years) and 43 adults (16+ years) by questionnaires, personal diffusion samplers for nicotine, and cotinine measurements in saliva and urine. In addition, the influence of the smoking status and the location of the home (urban or suburban) on the benzene exposure of the children was investigated. 2. On average, the 24 children living in homes with at least one smoker were exposed to ETS for 3.1 h/d. This is significantly longer (P<0.001) than the daily exposure time of the 15 children from nonsmoking homes (0.3 h/d). The nicotine concentrations on the personal samplers worn over 7 days were 0.615 and 0.046 microg/m3 for children from smoking and nonsmoking homes, respectively (P<0.001). Average salivary cotinine levels were 1.95 ng/ml in children from smoking homes and 0.11 ng/ml in children from nonsmoking homes (P< 0.01). The corresponding urinary cotinine levels were 29.4 and 4.5 ng/mg creatinine (P< 0.001). There was no difference in the extent of ETS exposure between children and adults from smoking households. Adults from nonsmoking homes tended to have higher ETS exposure than children from nonsmoking homes. 3. Exposure to benzene, which was determined by means of personal samplers, measurements of benzene in exhaled air and of the urinary benzene metabolite trans, trans-muconic acid, was not significantly related to the smoking status of the home but primarily dependent on the location of the home.