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Ventilation in bars, casinos doesn't control health risk for hospitality workers

Baltimore, Md. The level of cancer-causing particles is much higher in the air of smoke-filled bars and casinos than on truck-choked highways and city streets, according to the first published comparison of indoor air quality before and after smoke-free workplace legislation. The study, conducted in a casino, six bars and a pool hall in Wilmington, Delaware, is published in the September 2004 Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

"This research clearly shows that it is far worse for your health to be a bartender or casino dealer in a smoking-permitted establishment than it is to be a turnpike toll collector," says James L. Repace, MSc., the study's author. "These workers breathe an average of 90% cleaner air after a smoke-free workplace law." Repace, a health physicist, is visiting assistant clinical professor at Boston's Tufts University School of Medicine and a secondhand smoke consultant based in Bowie, Md. In 2002, Repace received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Innovators Combating Substance Abuse award for his ground-breaking work on the effects of secondhand smoke. Funds from the award helped make this study possible.

Repace assessed air quality in the eight hospitality venues on Friday evenings in November 2002 before Delaware's smoking ban -- and again in January 2003, two months after the ban took effect. Using state-of-the art monitoring equipment, he measured respirable particulate air pollution (RSP) and particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PPAH), pollutants proven to increase risk of respiratory disease, cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Repace's findings demonstrate the dramatic effect of Delaware's smoking ban: Except for residual chalk dust in the pool hall at 17% of pre-ban levels -- air quality levels post-ban in all venues were indistinguishable from those measured out-of-doors.

Prior to the smoking ban, however, Repace found all eight venues to be heavily polluted. Indoor RSP levels
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Contact: Dennis Tartaglia
212-481-7000
M Booth & Associates
8-Sep-2004


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