ETS Environmental Tobacco Smoke in Perspective

New ASHRAE 62.1Standard-2007

By Norman E. Kjono, May 30, 2007

 

On May 28, 2007 Forces.org published my commentary that addressed the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 62.1 Standard-2004:

May 28 [12:30 GMT] - Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) in perspective: material risk, regulatory standards, and study results - In 2004 the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) published its new minimum ventilation 62.1 Standard. The new standards dramatically reduce minimum ventilation airflows and intake of outside air for food and beverage establishments. Coincident with the reduction in Indoor Air Quality that accompanies reductions in ventilation tobacco control began its latest push to extend smoking bans to bars, taverns, restaurants and other hospitality trade venues. Which came first the smoking ban chicken or the reduced ventilation egg? The fact that two highly influential Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantees sit on the committee that published ASHRAE's position document on Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) it appears that both the chicken and the egg are part of a hybrid species of fouls. Forces columnist Norman Kjono explores highly relevant subjects regarding deeper issues behind tobacco control's claim to be about public health.

As that work was written ASHRAE announced its new Standard 62.1-2007 on May 22, 2007 (see  "ASHRAE Publishes New Standard 62.1"). The standards were open for comment until April 30. The ASHRAE press release concerning revised ventilation standards includes the following statement:

"'Standard 62.1 has served the building industry and the public as the most prominent standard on ventilation for indoor air quality,' Dennis Stanke, committee chair, said. 'Changes in the 2007 standard build on the improvements published in the 2004 version, providing additional guidance for designers of building ventilation systems.'

 "The new standard includes requirements for the separation of areas with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) from areas without ETS in the same building. Although some local building and health codes prohibit smoking indoors in many buildings and locations, other codes allow smoking in designated areas. In buildings that allow smoking in designated areas, effective separation of ETS areas ensures 'ETS-free' areas contain little or no ETS-related contaminants. The new separation requirements help designers ensure effective separation, according to Stanke." (Underline added.)

An Interesting and Laudable Role Reversal

HPAC Engineering magazine has published "Codes and Standards" in its April 2007 edition. That work includes the following statement:

"Addendum i, which requires that zones with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) be supplied with more outdoor air than ETS-free areas of the same occupancy category. Outdoor airflow rate would be determined using 'engineered methods with the approval of the authority having jurisdiction.'" (Underline added.)

Persons who smoke will love it! They can enjoy sitting in rooms built just for them that have superior ventilation compared to where nonsmokers sit. All this, just to protect nonsmokers from the alleged risks of ETS that do not exist as represented by tobacco control. Good for them! It's about time smokers enjoyed an advantage that nonsmokers have voted to exclude themselves from by supporting tobacco control smoking bans. The last thing anyone who smokes would be concerned about is the alleged risks of secondhand smoke - that is a mind-bending worry reserved exclusively for nonsmokers who push the ban button in polling booths.

It also appears that smokers can relax and enjoy a smoke with their beer, comfortable in the knowledge that the increased intake of outdoor air in designated smoking areas also reduces documented risk from Indoor Air Quality constituents not related to tobacco smoke. Carcinogens from cooking with oils and solid fuels like wood that many credible studies show have OR risk factors many times greater than the 1.19 OR at 90 percent confidence Level published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 come to mind. An added advantage is that walls built to special areas for smokers - thereby creating "Smoke Free" environments for the Pristine Clean - will muffle the whines about a bad hair night previously heard from those who complain they must dash home and shampoo their hair whenever they voluntarily choose to enter a hospitality establishment that permits smoking.

Those with a penchant for stock market investing may want to short shampoo stocks - the profits could be stunning once stock price declines begin to reflect the massive reduction in demand for shampoo by nonsmoker zealots. According to anti-tobacco activists, at the present time there are gazillions and bdillions of nonsmokers manically applying shampoo after enjoying a night out on the town. Given that reduction in demand because of ASHRAE's smoking rooms, shampoo prices should plummet. Rumor has it that the antis are dreaming up an "Anticipated Shampoo Need" index to sustain the market. Pristine Clean will be required to buy their "fair share" of shampoo just in case anyone even thinks about smoking in public. A little yellow bird has been circulating the rumor that a bill has been introduced in Congress to mandate tax free status for shampoo, just to stimulate demand. That should keep a few thousand anti-tobacco lobbyists busy for the next several years. Hy, its all good. "Billable hours is billable hours," as they say, regardless of the fruitcake cause to which they are logged.

Smokers, score one for your side! Light up and enjoy the new superior facilities built just for you.

Nonsmokers Still at Risk

Meanwhile, back at the nonsmoking ranch, the Pristine Clean will be sitting in reduced ventilation, inferior, Indoor Air Quality environments. Good for them, too! They have justly earned and richly deserve what they have aggressively pushed for during the past decade. You voted for, now enjoy what you have.

"Secondhand Smoke Consultant" James Repace confirmed inferior Indoor Air Quality in "Smoke Free" environments with his recent 2006 study, "Can Displacement Ventilation Control Secondhand ETS?"

published by ASHRAE Applications. That work concerned "scientific" measurements of indoor air constituents before and after a smoking ban. On page 4 of that report Repace lists CO2 pre and post smoking ban levels in Table 1. for the Black Dog Pub. CO2 levels in the Black Dog's "Smoke Free" dining room increased from pre-ban levels of 760 Parts Per Million (PPM) to 1,518 - doubling after a smoking ban. Repace omits CO2 measurements for the "Smoke Free" bar after the ban. In the text on page 3 of that 2006 study Repace comments about ventilation air flows at the Black Dog after the ban:

"CO2 levels showed a decline in outdoor air supply to L/s per occupant, in compliance with the Standard 62.1-2004 recommendation for nonsmoking bars. However, the air quality felt stuffy." (Italic, added.)

Repace oughta know. He holds himself out as an expert on secondhand smoke and reports that he is a member of ASHRAE. So there you have it, direct from the horse's . . ."

Of equal or greater importance is Repace's measurement of carcinogenic Respirable Suspended Particles (RSP) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH). While the post ban measurement did show material declines, what Repace describes as carcinogenic substances remained.  The data are uncertain due to methods used to measure and conduct estimates. The material point is that carcinogenic substances remained in nonsmoking areas, despite a ban on smoking.

One section of my previous commentary about ASHRAE ventilation standards as published by Forces.org merits repetition:

"Observations concerning the association between cooking with oil and lung cancers in nonsmokers were confirmed by a study published May 1, 2006 in the journal Cancer Research (66, 4961-4967). See "Dose-Response Relationship between Cooking Fumes Exposures and Lung Cancer among Chinese Nonsmoking Women:"

 

"The high incidence of lung cancer among Chinese females, despite a low smoking prevalence, remains poorly explained. Cooking fume exposure during frying could be an important risk factor. . . . Multiple unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratios (OR) for different levels of exposure after adjusting for various potential confounding factors. . . . The ORs of lung cancer across increasing levels of cooking dish-years were 1, 1.17, 1.92, 2.26, and 6.15. After adjusting for age and other potential confounding factors, the increasing trend of ORs with increasing exposure categories became clearer, being 1, 1.31, 4.12, 4.68, and 34. The OR of lung cancer was highest for deep-frying (2.56 per 10 dish-years) followed by that of frying (1.47), and stir-frying had the lowest OR (1.12) among the three methods. Cumulative exposure to cooking by means of any form of frying could increase the risk of lung cancer in Hong Kong nonsmoking women. Practical means to reduce exposures to cooking fumes should be given top priority in future research. " (Underline, italic added.)

 

It is noteworthy that the OR risk factor for lung cancer among nonsmokers allegedly caused by exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke published by EPA in 1992 was 1.19 at a 90 percent Confidence Level. In contrast, the above ORs for lung cancer due to fumes caused by cooking with oils increase to 6.15 and 34.0 over time, presumably at a 95 percent Confidence Level. ASHRAE 62.1 Standard permits the greatest decreases in ventilation airflow and reductions for intake of fresh outside air (reportedly ranging from fifty to sixty-nine percent) in the food and beverage service category. In addition, ASHRAE has stated that the only way to eliminate the risks of exposure to ETS is to prohibit smoking activity.

 

It therefore becomes evident that ASHRAE standards effectively prohibit a lawful activity, smoking tobacco products, that has a risk factor so low it is subject to chance (1.19 at 90 percent CL) but permits continued exposures to substances with OR's so high over time (6.15 to 34.0 at 95 percent CL) that the causal association with lung cancer is virtually conclusive. Is selective prohibition based on political and mercantile agendas being imposed in defiance of established federal regulatory authority that supports genuine public health measures? The issue raised is not whether persons who lawfully consume legal tobacco products have a constitutionally protected right to do so; the important issue raised is that activities for which causal associations with lung cancer among nonsmokers is virtually nonexistent are prohibited, while cooking activities that present apparently certain causal associations continue to be permitted. The final question that the above information presents is compelling: how can such conflicting and contradictory standards possibly support a legitimate state interest?"

Nonsmokers can be profoundly grateful to tobacco control advocates for their current state of Indoor air Quality. Politicians who support tobacco control agendas also deserve their fair share of credit. Who but an opportunist zealot or a catatonic public servant would have the chutzpah to promote and aggressively push for adoption standards that reduce overall Indoor Air Quality for nonsmokers in the name of "clean Indoor Air?" Whatever happened to tobacco control's strident proclamations that "Everyone has a right to breathe clean indoor air?" Perhaps tobacco control and genuine Indoor Air Quality merely prove for politicians and air quality standards board folks the long standing adage, "Play with snakes and you eventually get bit, every time."

One profoundly hopes that we will soon see the day when politicians wake up and smell the carcinogens not related to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS). When they do so perhaps we will see responsible Indoor Air Quality measures that work for everyone. In the meantime, citizens and small business owners continue to endure adverse consequences of tobacco control's self-serving smoking ban mandates.

Current Hospitality Trade Issues

Bar owners should be pleased with the new ASHRAE 62.1 Standard. First, it provides a way to accommodate patrons who smoke, albeit at considerable expense to construct special rooms.  Second, that cost of construction for smoking rooms adds to economic damage calculations imposed by smoking bans. Hospitality trade business owners should consider a few important questions:

1. Why are federal regulatory Permissible Exposure Limits (PELS) considered for carcinogenic compounds such as those related to cooking with oils that have vastly greater risk factors than tobacco smoke considered as to material risk, but the same federal standards are not considered for ETS? Why is "Zero Tolerance" policy applied to ETS, but federal material risk standards applied other carcinogens.

 

2. Why are federal regulatory conclusions by worker safety agencies such as OSHA concerning other carcinogens regarded as definitive, but OSHA's conclusions concerning ETS utterly disregarded? Who authorized the substitution of private opinion for federal material risk conclusions?

 

3. Why are hospitality trade small business owners afforded the protections of the federal rulemaking process concerning all other alleged carcinogens, but those same protections not applied - indeed, disregarded - when mandating public policy for ETS?

Answer those questions and you will go to heart of tobacco control advocacy. The short form answer is because tobacco control cannot advance its special-interest, mercantile agenda to peddle "Smoke Free" nicotine delivery devices if due and proper regard is given federal regulatory authority of OSHA. Therein may found the path for hospitality small business owners to recover economic damages advocated by tobacco control.

That short form answer raises a compelling final question:

Why is it that hospitality trade small business owners are required to in effect subsidize the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's "Smoke Free" nicotine delivery device sales agenda through declines in smoking patron revenues?

Is suspect that the preceding questions will become an increasing part of legal issues concerning equal protection of the laws and due process as applied to smoking bans.

Closing Remarks

We will follow the professional commentary about ASHRAE's Standard 62.1-2007. As the new standard was announced just a week ago the published works on the new standard are relatively scarce at the moment. For the present time it appears that ASHRAE may be vainly attempting to wiggle out of the ever-tighter corner that their collaboration with tobacco control painted them into in 2004.

In the meantime, I restate my closing to the previous commentary that addressed ASHRAE 62.1 Standard-2004"

The above information presents an important new perspective concerning tobacco control advocacy and smoking bans. Hospitality patrons should consider their personal safety and well-being when entering a establishment that aggressively advertises itself as 'Smoke Free.' The restaurant may well be 'Smoke Free,' but is it 'Safe'? ASHRAE's reduced ventilation standards and emerging science about other airborne carcinogens not related to ETS raise a potential question: 'Is it ASHRAE Standard 62.1 Free'?"

Genuine Indoor Air Quality for everyone hangs in the balance.

Norman E. Kjono


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