Monday, January 16, 2006

The history of OSHA and secondhand smoke.....

OSHA and the case against smoking bans.

In 1999, comments were solicited by the government from an independent Public and Health Policy Research group:

"We posit a sealed, unventilated enclosure that is 20 feet square with a 9 foot ceiling clearance.

"Taking the figures for secondhand smoke yields per cigarette directly from the EPA, we calculated the number of cigarettes that would be required to reach the lowest published "danger" threshold for each of these substances.

The results are actually quite amusing. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a situation where these threshold limits could be realized.

"For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes would be required to reach the lowest published "danger" threshold.

"For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes would be required.

"Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

"At the lower end of the scale-- in the case of Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up simultaneously in our little room to reach the threshold at which they might begin to pose a danger.

"For Hydroquinone, "only" 1250 cigarettes are required. Perhaps we could post a notice limiting this 20-foot square room to 300 rather tightly-packed people smoking no more than 62 packs per hour?

"Of course the moment we introduce real world factors to the room -- a door, an open window or two, or a healthy level of mechanical air exchange (remember, the room we've been talking about is sealed) achieving these levels becomes even more implausible.

"It becomes increasingly clear to us that secondhand smoke is a political, rather than scientific, scapegoat."

It is time to hold lawmakers accountable for their flawed support of smoking bans.

The first step is to circulate this information as far and wide as possible. And this 2004 government testing which shows secondhand smoke to be 152 times safer than OSHA regulations should also become general public knowledge.

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