Abstracts: ISEE 22nd Annual Conference, Seoul, Korea, 28 August-1 September 2010: Air Pollution - Exposure Characterization and Health Effects
Despite California's 1994 statewide smoking ban, exposure to secondhand smoke continues in California's Indian casinos. Few data are available on exposure to airborne fine particles (PM2.5) in casinos, especially on a statewide basis. We sought to measure PM2.5 concentrations in Indian casinos widely distributed across California, exploring differences due to casino size, separation of smoking and nonsmoking areas, and area smoker density.
A selection of 36 out of the 58 Indian casinos throughout California were each visited for 1–3 hours on weekend or holiday evenings, using 2 or more concealed monitors to measure PM2.5 concentrations every 10 seconds. For each casino, the physical dimensions and the number of patrons and smokers were estimated. As a preliminary assessment of representativeness, we also measured 8 casinos in Reno, NV.
The average PM2.5 concentration for the smoking slot machine areas (63 μg/m3) was 9 times as high as outdoors (7 μg/m3), while casino nonsmoking restaurants (29 μg/m3) were 4 times as high. Levels in nonsmoking slot machine areas varied: complete physical separation reduced concentrations almost to outdoor levels, but 2 other separation types had mean levels that were 13 and 29 μg/m3, respectively, higher than outdoors.
Elevated PM2.5 concentrations in casinos can be attributed primarily to secondhand smoke. Average PM2.5 concentrations during 0.5–1 hour visits to smoking areas exceeded 35 μg/m3 for 90% of the casino visits.