Marijuana is the indoor air pollutant no one knew about until now

It isn't just cigarette smoke, candles and cleaners that could be polluting your home.

San Diego State University researchers are trying to keep kids safe from indoor pollution. As a means to that end, they recently set up  air particle monitors in the homes of 300 families to find out what happens in the home that might make indoor air unhealthy for children. Smoking pot turned out to be one of those indoor air pollutants that harm you and espeically your kids.

Marijuana pops up as home air-pollutant

The investigation found cigarettes are still a major source of indoor pollution that exposes children to over 7,000 cancer causing chemicals from second-hand smoke.

But in addition to cigarettes, the researchers say marijuana also popped up as a home pollutant in addition to what we already know about other particulate matter from burning candles, frying and cleaning products.

"Our primary goal was to figure out what's happening in houses that leads to higher air particle levels and  in turn, to unhealthy environments for kids," said study coauthor John Bellettiere, a graduate student in the SDSU-UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health in a media release.

The study included homes with children age 14 and younger with at one smoker in the house. Two air particle monitors were placed in the homes - one in the room closest to where smoking normally occurs and one in the child’s bedroom.

The monitors check for different size particles that the researchers explain are important because they can reach deep into the lung and include:

  • Dust
  • Fungal spores
  • Byproducts of combustion
  • Automobile emissions

When the researchers matched data collected over a 3-month period with air particle monitors they discovered marijuana smoking in the home contributed as much to indoor air pollution as cigarette smoking.

"The aim of our research is, ultimately, to find effective ways to promote smoke-free homes and also to find good strategies, in general, for reducing exposure to household pollution, The findings from our work will allow for better education and feedback to families,”  lead author Neil Klepeis, behavioral health researcher and principal investigator said.

Burning incense and spray cleaning products are also known air pollutants that can adversely affect health; especially that of children. The study also found opening windows, using kitchen
exhaust fans and other means of ventilation had no impact on the amount of home pollution from pot smoking, cigarettes, frying, spray cleaners, burning incense and candles.