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Risk Anal. 1990 Mar;10(1):19-26.

Assessing exposures to environmental tobacco smoke.

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John B. Pierce Foundation Laboratory, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520.


The combustion of tobacco indoors results in the emission of a wide range of air contaminants that are associated with a variety of acute and chronic health and comfort effects. Exposures to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) are assessed for epidemiologic studies and risk assessment and risk management applications. An individual's or population's exposure to ETS can be assessed by direct methods, which employ personal air monitoring and biomarkers, and indirect methods, which utilize various degrees of microenvironmental measurements of spaces, models, and questionnaires in combination with time-activity information. The major issues related to assessing exposures to ETS are summarized and discussed, including the physical-chemical nature of ETS air contaminants, use of proxy air contaminants to represent ETS, use of biomarkers, models for estimating ETS concentrations indoors, and the application of questionnaires.

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