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Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Category Press Release
Publish Date 12/13/2013
Author Paul Cochrane
Title California Town Prohibits Smoking in Homes with Shared Walls
Introduction LA Testing provides services to identify environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in residential and commercial properties.

California Town Prohibits Smoking in Homes with Shared Walls

LA Testing provides services to identify environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in residential and commercial properties.

Garden Grove, CA, December 9th, 2013

Last month, ABC News published a report about what has been called the most stringent ban on smoking in the nation.  In the California town of San Rafael, a new ordinance prohibits homeowners and renters from smoking in their home if it shares a wall with another dwelling in multifamily properties with three or more units.

Environmental tobacco smoke is often referred to as "secondhand smoke" and exposure to ETS is known as "passive smoking."  Proponents of the new ordinance have cited studies that shown how secondhand smoke can migrate from one unit into another through walls and ventilation ducts. 

Environmental tobacco smoke is a complex mixture of over 4,000 compounds, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals and many of which are strong irritants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that passive smoking annually causes between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year. Asthmatic children are especially at risk. The EPA estimates that exposure to secondhand smoke increases the number of episodes and severity of symptoms in hundreds of thousands of asthmatic children, and may cause thousands of non-asthmatic children to develop the disease each year. The agency believes that between 200,000 and 1,000,000 asthmatic children have their condition made worse by exposure to secondhand smoke each year.

One company that provides testing services for ETS is LA Testing.  “Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause a wide range of immediate effects that include irritation to the eyes, nose and throat,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Garden Grove facility.   “Exposure may also affect the cardiovascular system and some studies have linked exposure to secondhand smoke with the onset of chest pain. LA Testing provides services to identify ETS in indoor environments to help prevent needless exposure.”

LA Testing has sponsored a video about ETS and children that can be seen at:

To learn more about testing for environmental tobacco smoke or other indoor air quality (IAQ) issues, please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794. 

About LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc.

LA Testing and EMSL Analytical are providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The companies have an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.  LA Testing has laboratories throughout California to service commercial clients, government agencies and the general public.

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