PhilaU Researchers Publish Third-hand Smoke Study in Environmental Journal

Sarang Amin presented the research group's findings at a regional conference.

Recent graduates Tyler Fleming, Chris Anderson and Sarang Amin and faculty research mentor Jeff Ashley, associate professor of chemistry, have published a paper on third-hand smoke in the October Journal of Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, a respected publication highlighting advances in the field of environmental toxicology and assessment.

Fleming, Anderson and Amin conducted research on the levels of a group of cancer-causing chemicals in third-hand smoke, which is the residue from tobacco smoke that is absorbed by smokers’ clothing and skin, as well as surrounding surfaces such as walls, carpets and furniture.  The study, Third-Hand Tobacco Smoke: Significant Vector for PAH Exposure or Non-Issue?, concludes that after smoking even one cigarette, smokers have higher residues of these chemicals on their bodies and clothes.  This may increase chemical exposures to non-smokers, especially infants and children, who come in contact with third-hand smoke residues.

“I am proud of all three graduates who worked on this up-and-coming research,” Ashley said.  “They experienced all aspects of conducting scientific research, from inception of a novel research project, through experimental design and data collection, to dissemination of results.”

The culmination of a two-year research project, the paper won third place in a conference-wide undergraduate poster competition and was presented last year by Fleming at the annual conference of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in Boston, Mass.

Tyler Fleming (left) and Chris Anderson, pictured here at a Philadelphia Science Festival event, helped research the potential harmful effects of third-hand smoke.

Fleming ’12 majored in science and business and received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Vietnam this year.  Anderson ’11 majored in pre-medicine and biochemistry and is pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Amin ’12 majored in chemistry and plans to pursue graduate studies in that field.

The quality of the graduates’ research and national recognition is a testament to the University’s dynamic curriculum. Ashley said, “It’s a great example of PhilaU’s focus on experiential learning that ultimately builds research skills, enhances students’ professional credibility and prepares them for post-graduate careers.”

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