Skip navigation
Getting rid of thirdhand smoke residue is not easy

Narrator:       This is Science Today. By now, we know about the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, but thirdhand smoke has been less understood. Now, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have confirmed that the carcinogenic residue left over after secondhand smoke clears causes significant genetic damage in human cells. Staff scientist Lara Gundel explains that thirdhand smoke clings to most surfaces and it's especially hard to eradicate.

Gundel:          One of the questions I get asked a lot is, how do we get rid of thirdhand smoke once we come across the contamination? We don't know how to get nicotine out with ordinary household chemicals. We can do it in the laboratory, but we cannot do it inside at the moment, in an indoor environment in a way that we can keep the occupants of the home safe. So, that's an area of interest for us to figure out how to develop remediation that would be non-toxic to the residents.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.