We’re lucky there’s no third-hand sound

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

In studying the health effects of cigarette smoke, there’s smoking itself, secondhand or environmental tobacco smoke, and third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is the residue that secondhand smoke leaves on surfaces such as furniture or clothing. You are exposed to third-hand smoke when you rent a car in which someone has been smoking, or are assigned a hotel room in which previous occupants have smoked.

Many if not most non-smokers find the smell of third-hand smoke unpleasant. And as with secondhand smoke exposure, third-hand smoke exposure has now been shown to convey hazardous chemicals.

Our noise colleague John Drinkwater coined the phrase “Secondhand Sound is the new Secondhand Smoke.™️” In an article about a new definition of noise, I used his insight, pointing out that unwanted noise is like secondhand tobacco smoke, both a nuisance and a health hazard.

We’re lucky that as of now acoustic scientists haven’t found third-hand sound!

Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.

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