Daily News Archive
April 20, 2006
Found In Cigarette Smoke
(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2006) Previously
undetected pesticides in tobacco smoke have been found by researchers
at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorodo. The research has just
been published online in the American
Chemical Society journal, Analytical
Chemistry, in an article by John Dane, Crystal Havey and Kent Voorhees.
Using electron monochromator-mass spectrometry, the scientists have
found three pesticides – 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 three nitro-containing
pesticides, commonly used in tobacco farming practices, survive the
combustion process. When the three unidentified compounds turned up
in the smoke, the researchers utilized a unique selective and sensitive
instrument to analyze the chemical “fingerprints” of the
substances and identify the new compounds as dinitroaniline pesticides.
They found the three pesticides in both the mainstream and sidestream
smoke, with the sidestream showing the higher levels for all three compounds.
Although the pesticides are reduced in quantity, they survived the combustion
at an estimated level of 10 percent of the original residue on the tobacco.
a suspected endocrine disrupter already banned for use on tobacco in
Europe, belongs to a class of chemicals that may be active at miniscule
levels, the researchers say. Endocrine disrupters can produce adverse
effects on early development, reproduction and other hormonal processes.
are the other two pesticides identified in this study. Pendimethalin
has been identified as an endocrine disrupter that specifically affects
the thyroid. Trifluralin is also an endocrine disruptor that affects
the reproductive and metabolic systems. Both compounds are suspected
None of the three pesticides has been previously reported in either
the mainstream or sidestream smoke from current U.S. tobacco.
“No information exists for long-term low-level inhalation exposures
to these compounds,” said Voorhees, “and no data exists
to establish the possible synergistic effect of these pesticides with
each other, or with the other 4,700-plus compounds that have been identified
in tobacco smoke.”