If you're worried about second-hand smoke, a new test lets you test yourself. It's called Tobacalert, and it's a urine test strip made by Shelf Life.
Tobacalert measures the chemical Cotinine, a by-product of the body's breakdown of nicotine. When you inhale tobacco smoke, Cotinine stays in the body much longer than nicotine levels.
You just dip the strip into a urine sample and the strip will change colors if there is Cotinine in the body. Cotinine is a widely accepted indicator of recent tobacco product use and exposure.
Tobacalert is a home test that provides you with a quick, accurate, on-the-spot determination of a person's level of exposure to tobacco products including second-hand smoke. It is not intended for medical use.
Tobacalert is an easy to use, fast and accurate urine test strip. It can detect exposure to second-hand smoke and the use of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and chewing tobacco.
Potential users include parents of young children, workers in a smoky workplace, and other persons concerned about the harmful effects of second-hand smoke detection, verification, and monitoring of tobacco use status.
Potential users include smokers trying to quit, parents worried about whether a teenaged child may be smoking, coaches, and insurance companies. Tobacalert is not intended to diagnose treat or prevent any disease or medical condition.
The end of the Tobacalert strip contains gold particles coated with an antibody that selectively binds to Cotinine in the urine. After the end of the strip is dipped in urine, the gold particles migrate through specialized "traps" in the strip. The more Cotinine bound to a gold particle, the further it is able to migrate along the strip.
The reddish bands seen on the developed strip correspond to gold particles caught in a particular trap. Tobacalert is extremely sensitive and can measure amounts as low as six nanograms of Cotinine per milliliter of urine (six billionths of a gram in one fifth of a teaspoon).
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