Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in the household and urinary cotinine excretion, heavy metals retention, and lung function

Arch Environ Health. 1992 Sep-Oct;47(5):357-63. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1992.9938375.


The relationship between urinary levels of cotinine (U-cotinine) and arsenic (U-As), blood levels of cadmium (B-Cd), blood levels of lead (B-Pb), lung function, and questionnaire data on smoking habits were studied in 107 parents and their 46 children (7-10 y of age). There was a statistically significant relationship between the reported amount of tobacco smoked and U-cotinine levels. Nonsmokers who were married to persons who smoked had three times higher U-cotinine levels than nonsmokers whose spouses did not smoke. There was a significant association between the number of parents who smoked in the family and the U-cotinine levels of children. If only one parent smoked, maternal smoking was of greater importance than paternal smoking. There was also an association between U-cotinine and B-Cd. A study of lung function in the children revealed that vital capacity and functional residual capacity (corrected for sex, age, and height) increased as the number of parents who smoked increased. Therefore, the present study showed that (1) U-cotinine was a useful index of active smoking and environmental tobacco smoke exposure in adults and children, (2) U-cotinine was associated with the blood concentration of cadmium, and (3) environmental tobacco smoke exposure was associated with changes in lung function of children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arsenic / urine
  • Cadmium / blood
  • Child
  • Cotinine / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lead / blood
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Sweden
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Cotinine
  • Arsenic