Pesticides found in tobacco smoke

April 18, 2006

Colorado chemists have discovered for the first time government-approved pesticides are present at dangerous levels in tobacco smoke.

The pesticides, approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use by U.S. tobacco farmers, might produce adverse effects on early development, reproduction and other hormonal processes. Two have been classified as possible human carcinogens.

The previously undetected tobacco smoke pesticides were found by researchers at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., using electron monochromator-mass spectrometry. The scientists found three of the pesticides are suspected of being toxic to the human endocrine system, as well as carcinogenic, in a wide sampling of experimental and commercial cigarette smoke samples.

The pesticides, commonly used in tobacco farming practices, survive the combustion process at an estimated level of 10 percent of the original residue on the tobacco.

The total pesticides found were identified as flumetralin, endocrine, pendimethalin and trifluralin

The research appears online in the journal Analytical Chemistry, in an article by John Dane, Crystal Havey and Kent Voorhees.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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