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Third Hand Smoke?

Steven Hockstein

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RE: A 60 Year old two-story house.

I did an inspection a few weeks ago and my client was concerned that someone had smoked in the house at some time in the past.

Based on the history of cigarette smoking in the country I can only assume that most houses have had occupants that smoked at sometime in the past.

I suggested that he consider buying a brand new house.

I told my client that I don't know anything about how to check for it and what the health concerns would be. I told him that he was the first one to ask me to test for this since I have been in business (over 30 years).

He thanked me for my honesty and booked the inspection.

When I meet him at the inspection he had a UPS box with some devices to test the house. He found a company to rent the pumps and perform the test. There were small vacuum pumps with little tubes that he connected to the pumps. He placed them in four different rooms and let them run for two hours while he accompanied me during the home inspection. He said that they will determine if someone had smoked in the house.

Anyone else know about this type of testing? Is it legit?

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I would not think that an air sample would be accurate. Given the age of home it could have been smoked in for years and then painted and re-painted etc. Surface testing or destructive probing may reveal something.

We are asked the question many times per year in our market. Our answer is we don't know and don't have any confidence in the current methods of testing.

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I bet it was from Prisim labs. http://www.pati-air.com/page/iaq-home-survey-main

The device test for VOC's. It picks up all types of chemical compounds. I have used their test devices for about 3 years. They produce an indepth report that breaks down the findings and most common cause for what was found. It is an inexpensive option for folks who have a concern about the air quality in the home.. This is not a mold test, but it will tell you if you have active or live spores in the home.

Great for folks that are sinsitive to their inviroment and need to know if their home has chemicals floating around in the air.

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Scott, there are several firms that do that and I support it for iaq issues. I think most of the iag tests have poor protocols and render mostly fluff data. If there is a concern re cig smoking in the past, I think it would involve more rigor.

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