What is third-hand smoke?
Third-hand smoke is the residue left behind on our bodies (ie. hair, skin, finger tips, etc.), clothing, furniture, carpet, walls, ceilings, trim, etc. Studies claim that third-hand smoke clings to surfaces and reacts with air to further break down into even more harmful carcinogens. In essence, the lingering second-hand smoke clings to surfaces becoming third-hand smoke in the form of residue. It is the chemical reaction between air and this residue that creates the perfect storm of carcinogens and toxins that has the medical and scientific communities deeply concerned.
If you are in the market for a new home or rental, beware of the potential dangers that may be lurking on the walls, ceilings, flooring, etc. As Realtors®, we come across heavily smoked-in houses from time to time. Recent studies suggest that it is not enough to wipe down walls and paint. According to the Mayo Clinic, the nicotine residue that builds up over time cannot simply be “aired out” by opening windows or wiped clean. Some even suggest that carpets should be removed and heating and air ductwork should be replaced.
As Realtors®, we have a responsibility to help our clients find homes that are not only sound investments, but are also safe for their families. If you would like to learn more about third-hand smoke, check out the articles referenced below. As always, when in doubt, do your own research. Be safe!
About the Author
Pete Hernandez is a Broker/Realtor® with the Hernandez Group at Keller Williams Pinehurst. He is a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst and Envelope Professional with a strong interest in building science and extensive hands on experience in energy efficiency, insulation and moisture management in residential construction. He can be reached at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above article is purely a public resource and contains general information that is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date. The information contained in this article is informational in nature and may reflect the opinions of the author. When in doubt, always consult a subject matter expert in the field in question and perform your own research.