The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals on Thursday, December 10th, 2009. Some interesting findings regarding Cotinine, a component of tobacco smoke, emerged in the report, which presents biomonitoring data on the exposure of the U.S. population to environmental chemicals. Similar data has been monitored since 1988.
Over the past ten years, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure declined, according to the report, which is an analyzes of information from sources such as The Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the World Health Organization by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Cotine levels in the blood of children (ages 4-11 years old) were higher than in adults of all races during each previous NHANES survey.
The rate of ETS exposure dropped 70% in nonsmokers, presumably due to decreased tobacco use in locations with smoke-free laws. Public awareness of the adverse health effects of ETS, such as lung cancer, heart disease and birth defects may also have contributed to the decline. Children exposed to ETS are at increased risk for respiratory ailments, ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and more frequent colds and flu.