Study: Cigarette contaminants showing up in water

Here’s one more reason to quit smoking: A study shows that contaminants from cigarettes can show up in drinking water. According to Water Online  and Environmental Science & Technology,  residual chemicals from cigarettes were found in both treated water and wastewater.

Photo courtesy Sillyputtyenemies via Wikepedia

The chemicals – all carcinogens — can also be found in rivers, oceans, lakes, and streams. The scientists theorized that some of the chemicals could be passed through the smokers’ system, emerging in urine.

The anti-smoking group Legacy says toxic chemicals — such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — also leach out of discarded cigarette butts. Legacy says “In the U.S. alone, a large number of the 280 billion cigarettes purchased each year end up littering sidewalks, waterways, parks, beaches and public roads,” and that “Multiple litter studies show that when counting litter on a per-item basis, cigarettes and cigarette butts are the most prominent litter item on U.S. roadways.”

 Among other chemicals that leach, the site says, are aluminum; nickel; manganese; strontium; titanium; zinc; iron; nicotine; barium; chromium; and copper.

 If you haven’t already quit smoking, now’s a great time to start. And if you won’t quit, at the very least please dispose of cigarette waste properly – not by throwing them out the car window, crushing them out on sidewalks and streets, tossing them into storm drains or flushing them down the toilet.

 If you’re looking for help to quit, or more information about the dangers of smoking, check out this page from the CDC  and this one from The American Lung Association.