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News :: Environment
Ventilation no help against second hand smoke
20 Jan 2004
Toronto pub's ventilation system exchanged the air 10 times an hour, but to reduce the second-hand smoke dangers to acceptable levels would require at least 34,000 air changes per hour.
TORONTO - An American physicist says ventilation systems in restaurants and bars don't protect people from the effects of second hand smoke. James Repace studied air quality in restaurants and bars in Toronto, Boston and Wilmington, Delaware. He found indoor pollution levels dropped up to 95 per cent in Boston and Wilmington when sweeping smoke bans were enforced.

Repace measured air quality in a Toronto pub that contains a non-smoking section. Air is drawn in from the outside, pumped through the non-smoking section and directed through the smoking section before it is exhausted outdoors. The air quality was much better in the non-smoking section than in the smoking section, but it fared far worse than the smoke-free bars of Boston and Wilmington.

Repace says the Toronto pub's ventilation system exchanged the air 10 times an hour, which is what the current code calls for. But Repace told a Toronto news conference that to get the risk level down to an acceptable level, the ventilation system would have to make at least 34,000 air changes per hour. That's a tornado-like level.

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About James L. Repace, MSc
James Repace, MSc., is a health physicist and an international secondhand smoke consultant who has published 60 scientific papers on the hazard, exposure, dose, risk, and control of secondhand smoke. He has received numerous national honours, including the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute Distinguished Professor Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Innovator Award, the Surgeon General’s Medallion, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Public Health Association. He holds an appointment as a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine.

He is a former senior policy analyst and scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, serving on both the Air Policy and Indoor Air Staffs, Office of Air and Radiation, and in the Exposure Analysis Division, Office of Research and Development. He served as a consultant to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, on its proposed rule to regulate secondhand smoke and indoor air quality.

He was also a research physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory in the Ocean Sciences and Electronics Divisions.
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