Tags: Toxin | Detected | After | Shift | Smoky | Bar

Toxin Detected After 1 Shift in Smoky Bar

Friday, 29 June 2007 12:00 AM

Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants can result in measurable levels of a toxin in workers' bodies that is known to cause lung cancer, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

They found nonsmoking workers in Oregon who worked a single shift in a bar or restaurant that allowed smoking were more likely to have a detectable level of NNK -- a carcinogen linked with lung cancer -- in their bodies than those who worked in nonsmoking establishments.

"NNK is only found in the body as a result of either smoking or breathing other people's smoke," said Michael Stark of the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, Oregon, whose study appears in the American Journal of Public Health.

Stark and colleagues studied 52 nonsmoking bar and restaurant workers who were exposed to smoke at work, and compared them to 32 similar nonsmoking workers from communities in Oregon that prohibited smoking in such places.

For the study, participants, mainly young, uninsured women, gave urine samples before and after working at least four hours.

"As a group, four out of five of the nonsmokers who worked in a smoking environment had some detectable level of this deadly chemical in their body, and as a group, for every hour that they worked, that level increased by 6 percent," Stark said in a telephone interview.

Other studies have shown that nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke have about a 20 percent higher risk of lung cancer. They are also at a higher risk of asthma and perinatal complications such as sudden infant death syndrome.

"This adds to the very strong and growing body of evidence that second-hand smoke exposure is dangerous and people need to be protected," Stark said.

According to Stark, clean indoor air acts protect about 70 percent of workers from exposure to tobacco smoke.

Secondhand smoke causes about 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year, according to the American Lung Association.

Levels of environmental smoke in restaurants and bars are two to five times higher than in homes with smokers, they said.

© reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants can result in measurable levels of a toxin in workers' bodies that is known to cause lung cancer, U.S. researchers said on Thursday. They found nonsmoking workers in Oregon who worked a single shift in a...
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2007-00-29
Friday, 29 June 2007 12:00 AM
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