[The work environment as a source of exposure to secondhand smoke: a study in workers of bars and restaurants of Santiago, Chile].Rev Med Chil. 2010 Dec; 138(12):1517-23.RM
Secondhand smoke (SHS) is an established cause of morbidity and mortality among non-smokers. The workplace is an important source of exposure, especially among workers of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
To estimate the daily occupational exposure to SHS among non-smoking workers of bars and restaurants of Santiago, Chile.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Environmental vapor-phase nicotine was measured for 95 non-smoking workers of bars and restaurants of Santiago, using passive personal samplers during a daily work shift and outside the workplace.
The median occupational exposure to air nicotine was 9.18 µg/m³ (P25-P75 3.15-25.67 µg/m³). Higher concentrations were found among workers of places with no smoking restrictions (22.72 µg/m³; P25-P75 5.73-34.85 µg/m³), bar workers (20.75 µg/m³, P25-P75 5.03-44.67 µg/m³), waiters (20.57 µg/m³, PP25-P75 5.66-42.73 µg/m3) and bartenders (10.37 µg/m³, P25-P75 9.75-25.67 µg/m³). The median concentration of nicotine outside the workplace was 1.79 µg/m³ (P25-P75 1.02-3.00 µg/m³). Occupational exposure was 4.77 times higher compared to the non-work exposure.
Workers of bars and restaurants are exposed to high levels of SHS at the workplace. Moreover, occupational exposure among these non-smoking workers is, in most cases, the main source of daily exposure to this pollutant.