New Home Test Boosts Case Against Smoking
Detector Measures Passive Exposure
By Avram Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 19, 2004; Page B01
… The manufacturer, Nymox Corp. of Maywood, N.J., says the $15 test can be used to measure the secondhand smoke exposure of employees in smoky workplaces and people who live with smokers. One expert says it could be used in child custody cases.
…The TobacAlert test doesn't require expensive and time-consuming lab analysis, and results appear in about 15 minutes, Munzar said. The test strip is sensitive enough to detect only an hour of exposure to tobacco smoke in the previous three days.
… TobacAlert strips contain microscopic particles of colloidal gold, coated with an antibody that binds to cotinine, a byproduct of the body's reaction to nicotine. Nicotine dissipates in the body within two hours, but cotinine lingers for about three days in blood, saliva and urine. TobacAlert detects as little as six nanograms (billionths of a gram) of cotinine in less than a quarter teaspoon of urine. The test is gauged in whole numbers from zero to 6, with 6 denoting more than 1,000 nanograms. Nymox says people with readings above 100 nanograms -- 3 or above -- are smokers.