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Black Mark For A Fuggy Room

29.08.2005


A device called “passive chemical dosimeter” will help to identify the quantity of poisonous substances and to determine particular substances inhaled by interlocutors of a smoker. The device is being developed by the Kazan chemists, financial support being provided by the International Science and Technology Center.



The smoking-room of the Lenin State Library – this is the proper place for catching eligible bachelors, as a heroine of the Oscar-winner film “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears” assured her friend. Alas, as the Kazan chemists claim, this is not the sole thing one can catch in a smoking-room. The device they are developing with sponsorship of the International Science and Technology Center allows to determine the quantity of poisonous substances threatening with oncological diseases got into the organism of any person who was simply sitting the smoking-room for some time. In the future, these will be personal dosimeters – similar to those which allow to promptly determine the radiation dose caught by a person in a radioactive contamination zone.

The concept of operation of chemical dosimeters invented by specialists of the Kazan State Technological University is rather simple. It is necessary to take a plate of a multiple-purpose sorbent applied to an undercoat and to impregnate the sorbent with a special compound. It will react with the compound hazardous to health that are formed in the air in the course of tobacco smouldering. It would be better if reaction products were tinted in different colors. Then, the sorbent’s color and intensity of coloration will help to determine the quantity and the kind of poison a visitor of a smoking-room happened to encounter. And also the dose of these substances a visitor caught during the time (s)he spent in the smoking-room, as it is highly unlikely that (s)he was sitting there in a gas-mask.


To begin with, the chemists found out what substances particularly hazardous to health may be found in cigarette smoke. It has turned out that they are numerous and diverse! Although, for competent people this has been no secret for a long time: smoke contains the entire assortment of heavy organic synthesis plants, but smokers seem to prefer not to think about it. But it is worth knowing that the greatest danger lies not in the smoke they breathe in with each inhalation, but in what is elegantly flowing from the tip of a cigarette while they hold it in hand and simply talk or think, i.e. when tobacco smoulders by itself between inhalations.

However, it is particularly in the intervals between inhalations that the major part of tobacco – almost three quarters of it – burns down. It is the so-called by-product smoke that contains most of carbon monoxide, benzopyrenes and aromatic amine – which are extremely harmful substances. It is fearful, but the content f amine (which causes urinary bladder cancer) is generally 30 times higher in the by-product smoke than in the basic smoke. Do the persons – who naively assume that if they do not inhale but simply hold a cigarette alight or sit next to a smoker, the smoke is not dangerous for them – know about that?

Having learned what is necessary to identify, the chemists synthesized the required compound. The compound does react with carcinogenic amine, tobacco smoke components, without reacting with other compounds, which, unfortunately, may be found in the air of megapolis - spirits, sulfur oxide, nitric oxide and many others. Then the sorbent plates impregnated with this compound were standardized: the plates were placed for different periods into the chamber with known quantity of target toxicants, and then the researchers washed off everything accumulated on the sorbent and carried out identification by ordinary analytical methods.

At last the moment of truth came – the plates were hung in the University smoking-rooms and in the chemical laboratory where the air is necessarily “saturated” by various odours including rather dangerous ones. It has turned out that it was not for nothing that chemists previously got milk “for insalubrity”. In the room itself, there were not too many toxicants found, but in the vicinity of the draught where chemists stand during the synthesis, there were pretty much of them. However, it would be good to drink more milk for the persons who are fond of sitting in a smoking-room or having fun in a club or discotheque with a lot of smokers. Sometimes, they catch the higher dose of carcinogenic substances than chemists do particularly if they are breathing in cigarette smoke for hours.

Sergey Komarov | alfa
Further information:
http://informnauka.ru

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