Buildings: Smarter Facility Management recently posted an article about third-hand smoke spreading through the HVAC system.
Even if your building has a no smoking rule, your HVAC may still be spreading the carcinogens from cigarettes from years ago, creating Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues today. Third-hand smoke is residual nicotine and other chemicals from smoke that is left on indoor surfaces. These chemicals can mix with other indoor air pollutants and develop into a cancer-causing compound.
Related: 5 Facts About Indoor Air Quality
Here is an excerpt from the article:
It always seems like there’s something jeopardizing your facility’s air quality. You may have taken efforts to root out Sick Building Syndrome, reduce VOCs and improve occupant comfort. However, another unanticipated IAQ problem might be flying under the radar. You might be employing good source control and providing ample ventilation, but that might not be enough. Thirdhand smoke could be lingering in your facility from years ago, and you may be unknowingly spreading it.
You may say to yourself, “This isn’t relevant to me. Workplace smoking hasn’t been legal for years in my state.” While this is true in many workplaces, thirdhand smoke from years earlier might actually be contributing to IAQ issues in your facility.
One Drexel University study on thirdhand smoke suggests that your HVAC system could be spreading more of the toxic chemicals left behind from smoking. Your building’s occupants might still be exposed to these chemicals even if your company prohibits smoking.