Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Riverside

UC Riverside Previously Published Works bannerUC Riverside

Adhesion and Removal of Thirdhand Smoke from Indoor Fabrics: A Method for Rapid Assessment and Identification of Chemical Repositories.


Thirdhand smoke (THS) is an environmental contaminant that may cause adverse health effects in smokers and nonsmokers. Currently, time-consuming analytical methods are necessary to assess chemicals in THS repositories, like upholstered furniture and clothing. Our goal was to develop a rapid, accessible method that can be used to measure THS contamination in common household fabrics and to evaluate remediation. Cotton, terry cloth, polyester, and wool were exposed to THS for various times in a controlled laboratory environment and then extracted in various media at room temperature or 60 °C to develop an autofluorescent method to quantify THS. Concentrations of nicotine and related alkaloids in the extracts were determined using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The autofluorescence of extracts was proportional to the time and amount of THS exposure received by cotton and terry cloth. Extracts of polyester and wool did not show autofluorescence unless heat was applied during extraction. Nicotine, nicotine alkaloids, and TSNA concentrations were higher in THS extracts from cotton and terry cloth than extracts of polyester and wool carpet, in agreement with the autofluorescence data. For fabrics spiked with 10 mg of nicotine, extraction efficiency was much higher from terry cloth (7 mg) than polyester (0.11 mg). In high relative humidity, nicotine recovery from both cotton and polyester was 80% (~8 mg). Our results provide a simple, rapid method to assess THS contaminants in household fabrics and further show that THS extraction is influenced by fabric type, heat, and humidity. Thus, remediation of THS environments may need to vary depending on the fabric reservoirs being treated. Understanding the dynamics of THS in fabrics can help set up appropriate remediation policies to protect humans from exposure.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View