Second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS) exposure generates a large public health burden. Recent legislation has moved to prohibit smoking in public places and there are concerns that this may lead to an increase in exposures in private homes. Measurement of SHS aerosol has tended to use active pumped samples or longer-term diffusive badges. Pumped methods are noisy and poorly tolerated in home settings while diffusive badges do not provide real-time data. The UCB particle monitor (UCB-PM) is a modified smoke-alarm device capable of logging changes in airborne particulate matter over extended periods and has been used successfully to measure biomass fuel smoke concentrations in developing world settings This study has examined the use of the UCB-PM to measure SHS aerosol in both controlled laboratory conditions and a pilot field trial over a 7 day period in a smoker's home. Comparisons with a pumped sampler (TSI Sidepak Personal Aerosol Monitor) indicate good agreement over a range of exposure concentrations but there is evidence of a threshold effect at approximately 0.5 mg/m(3) of fine particulate measured as PM2.5. While this threshold effect undermines the ability of the device to provide useful data on the time-weighted average SHS concentration, the field trial indicates that that the UCB-PM has a sensitivity of about 71% and a specificity of 98%. The device has many advantages including zero noise operation, low cost and long battery life and may be a useful tool in quitting and smoke-free home intervention studies.
- environmental tobacco-smoke
- free legislation