Daily Business Report-Dec. 21, 2015
SDSU researchers are studying just how wide-spread and persistent thirdhand smoke can be and exploring ways to eradicate it from the home.
Extinguishing Thirdhand Smoke
SDSU researchers on frontlines in battle against the
harmful residue that smoking leaves behind
By Michael Price
When cigarette smoke is blown into the environment, its chemical constituents don’t just vanish into thin air. Residue from the smoke settles into, accumulates and is stored in the surrounding environment, such as upholstery, carpets, walls, clothing and curtains.
The residue can be detected long after the last cigarette has been extinguished. This so-called thirdhand smoke presents an under-recognized danger to human health and especially to young children and people with compromised immune systems, according to a multidisciplinary research team at San Diego State University. SDSU researchers are studying just how wide-spread and persistent thirdhand smoke can be and exploring ways to eradicate it from the home.
SDSU psychologist George Matt first became interested in thirdhand smoke about 20 years ago in a smoking cessation study that discovered nicotine byproducts could still be detected in the children of mothers who were former smokers, even after they had quit smoking and no one else smoked near the child. The finding puzzled researchers: If the children were not exposed to secondhand smoke, how were they still being exposed?
The answer came to him when he noticed patterns of behavior in his own young children—how involved they were in their environments, touch and explore everything, and how often they put non-food items in their mouths.
“Hands are sampling devices of surface in our immediate environment, as we like to say,” Matt said.
If byproducts of smoked tobacco remained in the room, then it was no wonder the kids of former smokers were still being exposed. The smoke may have cleared but it left behind a toxic, less evident mess.
“Homes become reservoirs of tobacco smoke pollutants,” Matt said. “These volatile compounds soak into the drywall; gypsum is like a bottomless pit for these toxins. Carpets are tremendous reservoirs.”
Penelope Quintana, an environmental health scientist and one of Matt’s colleagues, noted that people are probably most familiar with thirdhand smoke residue as the yellowing of walls in a home. Most people don’t notice it until they remove a picture and find a stark white square behind it. But chemical residue can be absorbed into pretty much any porous surface, then leaches out over time.
Matt, Quintana and environmental chemist Eunha Hoh today study thirdhand smoke in a range of environments where an unsuspecting public might encounter the lasting aftereffects of smoking: rental housing units, newly purchased homes, rental cars, hotel rooms and casinos. SDSU’s team is among the leaders in the growing field of thirdhand smoke research and is part of the Third Hand Smoke Research Consortium.
— SDSU Newscenter
Isis — the Pharma Company — Changes its Name
Sharing a brand name with the most feared terrorist group on the planet is never good for business.
After months of resisting pressure to change its name, Isis Pharmaceuticals announced plans on Friday to rebrand as Ionis Pharmaceuticals.
The San Diego biotech company, which has been around for a quarter century, had named itself after the Egyptian goddess Isis, long associated with good health. But people around the world now link the Isis name with death and destruction, not health.
“When you say your company name, you want people to think about the work you’re doing — not an unfortunate namesake,” Sarah Boyce, the company’s chief business officer, told CNNMoney on Friday.
Last month following the terror attacks in Paris Isis Pharma told CNNMoney it was seriously considering ditching its name.
But Boyce said the company had already begun working on a possible name change over the summer even before the Paris attacks as it became clear it would be “more and more difficult to continue with our old name.”
The company’s statement made no mention of the terror group, but said the new name represents its innovative culture and heritage as a pioneer in this space.
As part of the rebranding, Isis Pharma is also dumping the “ISIS” ticker symbol in favor of “IONS,” effective before U.S. markets open on Tuesday. In addition, the company will have a new website address: www.ionispharma.com.
County Supervisor Ron Roberts
Elected Chairman of SANDAG
City News Service
County Supervisor Ron Roberts was unanimously elected chairman of the San Diego Association of Governments on Friday. Roberts succeeds Santee Councilman Jack Dale for a one-year term at the helm of the regional planning agency.
The group also nominated Del Mar Councilman and Deputy Mayor Terry Sinnott for the position of first vice chairman.
Leadership of SANDAG will be crucial over the next year because the organization is planning to put forth a wide-ranging ballot measure that would dedicate funds for infrastructure and environmental projects. If the final version includes a tax increase, SANDAG leaders would have to convince two- thirds of area voters to support the measure.
Roberts has served on the Board of Supervisors for 20 years, and was on the San Diego City Council for seven years before that. He also has been on the California Air Resources Board for 20 years, and serves on the boards of several other agencies.
Sinnott is a former San Diego Gas & Electric executive and independent management consultant who became active in Del Mar community affairs about a dozen years ago.
Higgs Fletcher & Mack Adds 3 New Associates
Rachel Moffitt, Joseph Kagan and Joseph Gonnella have joined the Higgs Fletcher & Mack law firm as its newest associates after recently passing the California Bar Examination. Each received their law degrees from California Western School of Law.
Moffitt previously was the judicial extern to Associate Justice Alex C. McDonald and to U.S. District Judge Anthony J Battaglia. In these roles, she helped draft opinions, and drafted orders deciding various motions. Before that, Moffitt was a research intern for Higgs partner John Morris. She also is
a published author, with an article on “Gender and the Law” in The Georgetown Journal.
Kagan started his legal career at Higgs as a case assistant where he managed case files in a variety of areas, including tort, labor/employment, business litigation, tax, and trusts and estates. Since then, his experience has included his time as a law clerk for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the U.S. Trustee, as a judicial intern to the Honorable Richard E.L. Strauss in the San Diego Superior Court, and as a judicial extern to the Honorable Jan M. Adler in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Gonnella was judicial extern to the Honorable Nita L. Stormes, presiding magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California, and to the Honorable William S. Dato at the Superior Court in San Diego. Before that, he was a summer associate for the CareFusion Corp., providing general support and research for various practice groups.