Nevada: Casino workers exposed to high levels of secondhand smoke, study finds
In 2005, blackjack dealers working in three Las Vegas casinos filed workplace health hazard evaluation requests asking NIOSH to investigate secondhand smoke in their workplaces. A research team conducted indoor air quality tests and biomarker assessments on 124 card dealers employed at Bally's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, and Paris Las Vegas.
NIOSH investigators found secondhand smoke components in the air, including nicotine, 4-vinyl pyridine, solanesol, benzene, toluene, p-dichlorormethane, and formaldehyde. In addition, urinary testing of workers after their shifts indicated that secondhand smoke toxins were absorbed into their bodies. The report concluded that the best means of eliminating workplace exposure to secondhand smoke is to ban all smoking in the casinos.
"Casino workers deserve the same rights as other workers, including the right to a healthy safe workplace, free from toxic secondhand smoke," said Cynthia Hallett, executive director of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. "After the release of this report, we hope to see casino workers protected by strong smoke-free workplace laws throughout the country."
Nevada's smoke-free workplace law does not cover the gaming areas of casinos. Hallett said legislators are considering rolling back the law even further.
"If anything, these results should convince Nevada lawmakers to strengthen their state law to include the gaming floors of casinos, not roll it back to expose more workers to toxic secondhand smoke," she said.
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July 23, 2009
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