CLEARING THE AIR OR JUST FANNING THE FLAMES?
If the air, in fact, needs clearing, we maintain that ventilation
clears it. And unlike Anti-Tobacco, which admits it lacks "the benefit
of scientific studies disputing" that ventilation clears the air (1)
we have that benefit. Viz:
Two studies conducted by the US Dept of Energy in 1999 and 2000, attached
personal air monitors to 1500 non-smoking waiters, waitresses and bartenders
during their working shifts in restaurants and bars (where smoking was
allowed) in 17 US cities. In addition, researchers tested bodily
fluids for internalized markers of ETS exposure.
Real life "exposures were
considerably below the [safety] limits established by OSHA for the workplace."
And "considerably" means...considerably. Like 85% below the point
at which OSHA says the air can even begin to be considered harmful.
"A well-known toxicological
principle is that the poison is in the dose. It's pretty clear that
the environmental tobacco smoke dose is pretty low for most people." In
conclusion, the lead researcher added, "today's ventilation systems are
Of Exposure To Environmental Tobacco Smoke In Restaurant And Tavern Workers..."
Journal Of Exposure Analysis & Environmental Epidemiology Feb. 2000./
"Dept Of Energy: Determination Of Personal Exposure To Environmental Tobacco
Smoke: The 16-Cities Study"
According to another study, "Assessment of Non-Smokers Exposure to Environmental
Tobacco Smoke Using Personal Exposure and Fixed-Location Monitoring":
"Overall, the results
demonstrate that with ventilation in accordance with current ASHRAE standards,
can be an effective means of controlling ETS-related constituents to low
Et Al, 1996, Full Cite
And yet another study: "Environmental
Tobacco Smoke in an Unrestricted Smoking Workplace: Area and Personal Exposure
Monitoring." Again, this study measured exposure under current
"Although smoking was
completely unrestricted inside the main office areas, ETS levels, either
aerial or from personal exposure measurements, were lower than those estimated
by OSHA to be present in such facilities."
And even OSHA hadn't estimated the levels to be unsafe.
Another restaurant study reports:
"The results indicate
that ETS component concentrations in the non-smoking section of the facility..were
not statistically different (P<0.05) from those measured in similar
facilities where smoking is prohibited."
The study concludes:
"The regulatory implications of these findings are that ventilation
techniques for restaurants/pubs with separate smoking and non-smoking areas
are capable of achieving non-smoking area ETS concentrations that are comparable
to those of similar facilities that prohibit smoking outright."
Tobacco Smoke In The Non-Smoking Section Of A Restaurant; A Case Study"
Regulatory Toxicology & Pharmacology
(1) See "Anti-Ventilation"
This admission comes from Stanton Glantz
in correspondence on an anti-smoking network previously known as www.smokescreen.org
Perhaps the final proof that the new ventilation works (even to the
satisfaction of the most persnickety) comes, oddly, from its opponents.
In 1999 the Mesa AZ council had passed a ban on restaurant smoking.
Apparently, a local restaurant chain, in a demonstration project, installed
what a local activist referred to as "some of the so-called new ventilation
technology," (You really do gotta love 'em.)
The activist continues:
"The council was approached
by the restaurants, saying come and check [it] out and see what you think.
The council contacted one of the tobacco control coalition members who
visited the test site and indicated that indeed he couldn't see or smell
smoke...The council took that to be a green light and voted an amendment
to the ordinance allowing smoking...with this ventilation...."
Though the smoke had been removed, without removing the smokers, from
the activists' point of view this was an unhappy ending. Here's
what they did next:
Tactic #2: Attack the Messenger
"The coalition got word
that [engineering consultant X of the Y company] was in town, making the
rounds with council members, providing in-depth information about the new
technology. The coalition contacted ANR asking who [X] was, [learned that
he] had provided testimony against the OSHA regs" and
that his company had been contracted "by Philip Morris."
So there you have it.
The ventilation system that provably worked (and that was neither manufactured
nor installed by company Y) was now renounced as a con job, not on its
merits, but on guilt by association. Tarred, feathered, and thrown out
of town, the coalition convincing the council that it must have been "hoodwinked"--
even by its very own eyes and nose.
THE ANTI-VENTILATION ARGUMENTS
Though "tobacco control advocates don't have the benefit of scientific
studies disputing ventilation claims" (bemoans Stanton
Glantz) a lack of scientific evidence has never stood in his
(or the "advocates") way before.
And though the science (in fact, overwhelmingly) proves that ventilation
"works," they continue to oppose it on the following (flaky) grounds:
Some of these arguments were
made at last year's hearings before the New York City council:
P.R. department of one leading ventilation manufacturer (Honeywell) refused
to "mak[e] claims that these are health products." And in answer
to the direct question, "Will filtering eliminate all health hazards known
to occur with exposure to ETS?" (a loaded question to begin with: When
did you stop beating your wife?) answered that "Honeywell has not in the
past and does not make health hazard claims." (Well, there you have
it, Your Honor; case closed.)
Refuting this refutation
is a no-brainer. If Honeywell claimed ventilation systems were health
products, they'd be regulated by the FDA, and sued for breach of
promise by anyone whose allergies to anything didn't improve. Also
by anyone catching cold from the vent's draft. Further, in today's
anti-tobacco world, where "advocates" are "linking" everything from impotence
and female wrinkling to secondhand smoke, the possibilities for being sued
(with some prodding from the "advocates") become dangerously infinite.
No company in its right mind would dare to make any such blanket claim
about anything on earth.
is unanimous agreement among all cognizant occupational environmental and
public health authorities that ventilation cannot possibly control ETS.
The society of ventilation engineers, ASHRAE, totally supports this position."
So said James
Repace in testimony to the Council. (March, 2001)
We've already disproved
his first point. We can further add that ASHRAE does not support
this position. In fact, it takes no position. It is still,
as of now, in ongoing discussions on the subject of establishing new ventilation
standards for all--including smoking-- venues. (Current standards are now
in place.) Repace and the other "advocates," however, are pressing ASHRAE
to refuse to establish standards that accommodate smoking, to refuse to
explore the subject.
As an ASHRAE committee chair noted late last year (after Repace's
testimony), in reference to an upcoming meeting on the subject:
"Smoking opponents likely
will push us to take no action [on establishing standards for smoking venues]
for fear it will imply some sort of endorsement of smoking by ASHRAE."
Reporting on that next meeting (held in Spring, 2002, a full year after
Repace's testimony) the anti-smoking advocates are still whining about
ASHRAE's failure to bend to their pressure. In fact, despite the
"active participation" of advocates and lobbyists-- from ALA, AHA, ACS,
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the co-director of Smokeless States
National Program Office, the latter also an member of ASHRAE's Policy Committee
on Standards-- they still haven't gotten their way. The smokescreen
website has again put out an APB, calling for "a drumbeat of grassroots
email" to exert more pressure on the beleaguered engineers.
ventilation can do is dilute pollutants, but since there is no threshold
level for carcinogens, dilution will not do the trick." This argument
comes from Richard Daynard, ESQ, an anti-tobacco lawyer who masterminded
the strategy that led to the major lawsuits against Tobacco.
Granted, Mr. Daynard is
one canny lawyer but alas a lousy scientist. Dilution is everything.
First rule of toxicology is " The dose makes the poison."
The amount of chemicals in secondhand smoke is extremely minute and dilute
to begin with. Ventilation dilutes them further. If Mr. Daynard's
theory were true--we can't say this too often--no one should ever have
a dental x-ray, fly in an airplane, drive through a tunnel, self-serve
at the gas station, enter a dry cleaner's, or go out on a city street.
And finally, again, OSHA sets permissible (all-day) exposure levels for
workers to, yes, carcinogens.
laws of physics dictate that ventilation or air cleaning technology cannot
conceivably eliminate ETS exposure. It would take tornado-like levels of
airflow to reduce residual ETS concentrations to acceptable levels of risk."
So testified James
Repace to the NYC Council.
Balderdash, Mr. Repace.
The "laws of physics" say no such thing. In fact, the laws of physics
say that exhaust systems remove stale air and replace it with fresh air
(and there's only room for so much air in a given space, which is why a
balloon pops.) Hospitals use "air walls" to prevent even tiny but
deadly viruses from traveling. Surely they know Something, when lives
are truly at stake.
Of course if by "residuals," he means "every last molecule," he's probably
quite right. But that would be to make a mountain out of a molecule.
It would also be to live your life in a plastic bubble as our actual world
is loaded with carcinogenic molecules-- most of them, in fact, naturally-occuring.
As to the second part of the statement, as I think we've already shown:
ventilation works; better ventilation works even better; OSHA
itself lists "acceptable exposure levels," and finally, the levels
found in actual restaurants fall far, far below any starting points for
From there on, the arguments get paranoid and political:
Whenever a Ventilation Task Force (as one did in Philadelphia) issues
a positive report about ventilation, it's because they've been bought or
somehow "made to." In Philly, an ANR activist writes, "The Health
Commissioner made sure" the report was positive, and the "ventilation
advocates," which notably included bar and restaurant owners, got the news
out to the press. (Whatta dirty trick!) Anyway, the jig was
up in Philadelphia, with the "advocates" complaining "We wuz robbed!"--
by the truth.
The refutation here (beyond the self-evident) lies in analyzing the
logical formula being used. The model goes like this: The tobacco
industry says that ventilation works. Therefore: Anyone who says
that ventilation works is the tobacco industry (or one of its lackeys.)
To apply that logical model elsewhere, one would have to conclude that:
Hitler says the sun rises in the east. Therefore: Anyone who says
so is Hitler (or his lackey.) And yet:
exact argument (Ventilation is a Communist--oops--Tobacco Industry plot
that corrupts all who touch it) was the point made in testimony to the
New York City council by Glantz's Joanna Dearlove. (March, 2001) and similarly
by James Repace.
beneficiary of ventilation solutions is not the hospitality industry or
the public. It is the cigarette companies who are trying to maintain sales
and profits." (Testimony of Joanna Dearlove)
Dear Ms. Dearlove:
The 30% of New Yorkers who smoke, the 50% of our international visitors,
and the restaurateurs who get our business (and who won't with a ban) would
argue that point heatedly. We, too, are "the public," and liberating
us from a lifelong sentence of house arrest is indeed a benefit.
ventilation task force will take too much time to prepare a report. So
claims Mr. Glantz's Ms. Charlesworth in testimony to the NYC health committee.
(2001) And further, she's afraid that the Task Force "will most likely
return a report favorable" to the idea of ventilation and thus "effectively
dismantle" the smoker-banning law.
In other words, don't
do the science. Please. It undoubtedly will prove that this law is
unnecessary. Rush the law through and then never do the science.