The Knoxville study also showed that for bartenders who live with smokers, the away-from-work exposure is at least as important as the at-work exposure. And people who are highly exposed at home tend to be more highly exposed at work, probably because they dont avoid it as much, Jenkins said.
Jenkins paper, "Determination of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke in Restaurants and Tavern Workers in One U.S. City," is scheduled to be published in this months issue of Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology.
The "Restaurant and Tavern Workers" study builds upon findings of an earlier ORNL study involving 16 cities and more than 1,500 subjects nationwide. In that study, test subjects wore separate air sampling devices at work and away from work over a 24-hour period. Results from this approach differ dramatically from stationary air sampling, which does not take into account the constantly changing conditions as people move from place to place throughout the day, Jenkins said.
"The fact is that while individuals may live or work in environments where there is smoke, stationary monitors cannot take into account changes in smoke exposure resulting from changes in a persons micro-environment," Jenkins said. "In these micro-environments, a person may be closer to or farther away from various sources of environmental tobacco smoke."
Over the last six or seven years, more data on personal exposure to tobacco smoke has become available and the methods for measuring and analyzing the smoke have become more sophisticated.
The 16-cities study, the largest of its kind ever conducted in a single country, found the highest levels of environmental tobacco smoke nicotine levels in workplaces where smoking is permitted to be between 9.41 and 14.9 micrograms per cubic meter, far lower than the numbers assumed by EPA and OSHA.
"A well-known toxicological principle is that the poison is in the dose," Jenkins said. "Its pretty clea
Contact: Ron Walli
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory