Sometimes you don't know what you've got til..........you visit some place else.
I am helping to educate lawmakers in other parts of the country where smoking bans are proposed. And I was confronted with the following bit of information.
A municipality, I won't name which, decided to do exactly what our own St. Louis Park, MN. Environmental Health Department did in 2004, test the air quality in all its bars and restaurants which allow smoking. This municipality and/or the company conducting the tests doesn't give much credibility to the intellect of its officials & business owners though. In their air quality tests they should have measured for a hazardous component of secondhand smoke, such as benzene, or nicotine like our own St. Louis Park officials did. Instead, perhaps lacking technology, or perhaps knowing that the St. Louis Park test results discredit the notion that secondhand smoke is a hazard; this city tested for total airborne particulate count. Their test result showed that there is a lot of dust in the air but as I indicated to them you cannot measure the cumulative dust particle level and then conclude that it is unhealthy.
All airborne matter is particulate, --------'s test results fail to identify what that particulate is made up of. Example: if during the test 10 customers stood up to remove their jackets the particulate matter which would be expelled into the air could easily reach 150,000 to 500,000 particles / cu. M, but without more complex test equipment you cannot determine how much of that particulate matter is wool dust, human cells, hair, pet dander, or nicotine etc. A much over-simplified test, which in the end says nothing except that when people are gathered in a room the airborne dust (particulate) count rises.......duh.
After, providing some common sense & science to dispel the anti-smoking activist's dog and pony show, I began to miss my health department friends in St. Louis Park. So I called up SLP and spoke with one of the environmental health department officials to see if they would be willing to provide testing information to another municipality. Wow.....it seems I am not too popular with the SLP department. Their test was supposed to show how hazardous secondhand smoke is. And, had I not made the comparative analysis to OHSA guidelines showing that the danger of secondhand smoke is 150 times lower (safer than) OSHA (pel); I am sure that SLP and Minnesota officials would be heralding that test as the definitive proof secondhand smoke kills. Sorry to ruin your dog and pony show with the facts.
I'll continue to provide the SLP test information and its comparison results with OSHA, to lawmakers around the country. Clearing the Air happy to be an obstacle to the Robert Wood Johnson and the Johnson & Johnson (Nicoderm CQ) world domination tour......However, as a capitalist organization we at Clearing the Air are still open to a big fat RWJF grant like the American Lung, American Cancer and other non-profits received in order to "soften" our rigid stance on facts & science. Contact us....otherwise we'll see you at the next legislative committee hearings at various states around the country.