Article

Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (2008) 18, 262–271; doi:10.1038/sj.jes.7500590; published online 13 June 2007

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in German restaurants, pubs and discotheques

Gabriele Boltea, Dieter Heitmannb, Mandy Kiranoglua, Rudolf Schierlc, Juergen Diemerb, Wolfgang Koernerb and Hermann Frommea

  1. aDepartment of Environmental Health, Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority, Oberschleissheim, Germany
  2. bDepartment Analytical Laboratories and Evaluation of Chemicals, Bavarian Environment Agency, Augsburg, Germany
  3. cInstitute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany

Correspondence: Dr. Gabriele Bolte, Department of Environmental Health, Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority, Veterinaerstr. 2, 85764 Oberschleissheim, Germany. Tel.: +49 89 31560 159; Fax: +49 89 31560 835; E-mail: gabriele.bolte@lgl.bayern.de

Received 21 February 2007; Accepted 13 April 2007; Published online 13 June 2007.

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Abstract

In contrast to other countries, there is an on-going debate but still no smoke-free legislation in Germany. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in hospitality venues is assumed to be high, but air quality data are lacking. Therefore, the aim of our study was to perform a comprehensive exposure assessment by analysing the indoor air concentration of toxic or carcinogenic ETS compounds in restaurants, pubs, and discotheques. Active sampling of indoor air was conducted for 4h during the main visiting hours in 28 hospitality venues. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), volatile organic compounds (VOC), aldehydes/ketones, and cadmium were analysed. In addition, particle mass concentration was assessed with two different methods and particle number concentration (PNC) was determined. Median nicotine levels were 15μg/m3 in restaurants, 31μg/m3 in pubs, and 193μg/m3 in discotheques. Across these three sampling site categories median levels of 3-ethenylpyridine ranged from 3 to 24μg/m3, median levels of benzene from 8 to 20μg/m3, median levels of cadmium from 3 to 10ng/m3, and median levels of the sum of 16 PAH according to US-EPA from 215 to 375ng/m3, respectively. Median PM2.5 mass concentration assessed gravimetrically varied between 178 and 808μg/m3 and PNC between 120,000 and 210,000 particles per cm3 in restaurants, pubs, and discotheques. The majority of the particles had a size of 0.01–0.5μm. Concentrations of ETS compounds were always highest in discotheques. The strong correlation between ETS-specific markers (nicotine, 3-ethenylpyridine) and PM2.5, PAH, VOC, aldehydes/ketones, and cadmium indicated ETS as main source of these toxic or carcinogenic substances. In conclusion, indoor air concentrations of ETS constituents were high in German hospitality venues and represented a substantial health threat. Effective measures to protect patrons and staff from ETS exposure are necessary from a public health point of view.

Keywords:

second-hand smoke, PM2.5, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, nicotine, indoor air quality

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