Assessment of environmental tobacco smoke contamination in public premises: significance of 2,5-dimethylfuran as an effective marker

Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Nov 1;44(21):8289-94. doi: 10.1021/es1016075.


Contamination by environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) on premises where smoking is permitted is evaluated. Although all target VOCs evaluated show significant differences between smoking and nonsmoking indoors, the results obtained indicate that 2,5-dimethylfuran is the most appropriate and effective marker of ETS contamination given that this compound is only detected in environments where people have smoked and so the detection of this compound cannot be attributed to other contamination sources such as traffic. Moreover, the air levels of this compound due to coffee aroma are below the detection limits for this methodology. A preliminary study is performed to evaluate whether 2,5-dimethylfuran, a smoking breath biomarker, can be detected in passive smokers working in smoking environments. The compound was continuously detected in the breath of nonsmoking employees after being in direct contact with ETS for just a few hours. The Tedlar gas sampling bags had 5% loss of 2,5-dimethylfuran after 3 h of storage, which we took as the maximum recommended period for air sample storage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / statistics & numerical data
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Breath Tests
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Furans / analysis*
  • Public Facilities*
  • Seasons
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data


  • Air Pollutants
  • Biomarkers
  • Furans
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • 2,5-dimethylfuran