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Last Updated: May 5, 2009

Casino Air Quality Survey

by the Wizard   2009-05-05 11:26:12 (edited 2009-05-05 17:39)

An ongoing project I am working on is testing the air quality of casinos. The reason is to show the health hazard casino air poses to non-smoking players and employees. I'm not sure what the final form of my study will be, or even if I'll go further with it. For now, I will present it as best I can on my own.

I surveyed for about ten minutes in each casino with a hidden Dylos DC1100 air quality monitor. I have an attached battery back, and the way I conceal the unit still allows for air flow. During the survey time, I walked around the gaming area of casino. I tried to evenly cover all areas that normally see a lot of foot traffic. I did not go through separated areas, such as high-limit or poker rooms. If there was a non-smoking area, I tried to give it time in proportion to its casino space.

It was originally my intent to survey each casino on the same day of the week, and during a specific time interval. However, that was not practical given my schedule, and that I'm not making a dime off of this. So the days and times represent a wide range.

A question that faced me was whether to indicate the specific casinos in presenting my results. If I had to boil down my life philosophy to just three words, it would be those of Emil Faber , knowledge is good. In my opinion, the world would be a better place if there were unrestricted access to information. In that spirit, it would seem consistent for me to name names.

However, as previously mentioned, my surveys were done at various times during the week and day. Although I kept records of when each survey was done, it would still seem unfair to embarrass casinos with a high pollutant score, as a result of doing the survey at a busy time. Caveats could protect myself, but I know many readers will ignore them, and focus only on the numbers. I have debated with myself for three weeks over this issue. In the end, I'm trying to make the case that casino air in general is smoke-filled and dangerous. Your own nose can tell the bad from the really bad.

The DC1100 measures both small and large particles. According to the user manual, the following are types of particles that might be present in each category.

Small particles: fine dust, bacteria, mold, smoke, smog, etc.
Large particles: coarse dust, pollens, larger bacteria, plant spores, dust mite feces, etc.

The survey shows the large particle count for casinos is about the same as that of the two non-smoking business I surveyed. However, the small particle count is much higher. It should be obvious to anyone with a nose that the cause is tobacco smoke. To avoid confusing the issue, I will indicate only small particle counts.

The user manual, and the unit itself, indicates the following guide to the small count reading:

1000+ = Very poor
350-1000 = Poor
100-350 = Fair
50-100 = Good
25-50 = Very Good
0-25 = Excellent

How poor is poor How does the exposure to poor air correlated to shorter life expectancy I don't know. The makers of the DC1100 are not of much help either. The following is their health disclaimer:

While the DC1100 can detect levels of airborne particulates it cannot determine the health impact for any given individual. Respiratory ailments and allergic symptoms are caused by a variety of factors. The DC1100 is not meant to be used in the treatment or mitigation of any medical condition. Please consult your physician.

The group Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights does get into the specific health impacts of casino employees. I invite you to read their conclusions in their report Secondhand Smoke and Gaming Facilities .

All that said, the following table shows the small particle count at various casinos and non-casinos. Also indicated is the date, day, and time of day the sample was taken.

Survey Results

Venue Date Day Time Small Particle Count
Strip casino 1 22-Apr Wed 7:45 AM 328
Strip casino 2 22-Apr Wed 8:00 AM 272
Strip casino 3 22-Apr Wed 8:30 AM 292
Strip casino 4 22-Apr Wed 10:45 AM 529
Strip casino 5 22-Apr Wed 11:15 AM 322
Strip casino 6 22-Apr Wed 11:30 AM 628
Strip casino 7 22-Apr Wed 12:00 PM 408
Strip casino 8 26-Apr Sun 9:30 AM 359
Strip casino 9 24-Apr Fri 6:00 AM 243
Strip casino 10 26-Apr Sun 9:45 AM 380
Strip casino 11 26-Apr Sun 10:00 AM 1015
Strip casino 12 26-Apr Sun 10:30 AM 397
Strip casino 13 26-Apr Sun 10:45 AM 838
Strip casino 14 26-Apr Sun 11:00 AM 697
Downtown casino 1 1-May Fri 4:15 PM 1277
Downtown casino 2 1-May Fri 4:30 PM 838
Downtown casino 3 1-May Fri 4:45 PM 679
Downtown casino 4 1-May Fri 5:00 PM 660
Downtown casino 5 1-May Fri 5:15 PM 571
Downtown casino 6 1-May Fri 5:45 PM 543
Neighborhood casino 1 19-Apr Sun 2:00 PM 757
Costco 19-Apr Sun 4:30 PM 145
Home Depot 21-Apr Tue 12:00 PM 201
Sahara West Library 20-Apr Mon 5:30 PM 33
Summerlin Hospital 21-Apr Tue 11:30 AM 63
Alexander Dawson School 22-Apr Wed 1:30 PM 120
Friend's House 23-Apr Thur 4:00 PM 73
My office house 27-Apr Mon All day 171
My house 28-Apr Tue All day 210

The next table summarizes the small particle count by type of building.

Summarized Results

Venue Average Small Particle Count
Strip casino 479
Downtown casino 761
Neighborhood casino 757
All casinos 573
Private business 173
Public service 72
Private home 151

I think the numbers speak for themselves. Let me close with this quote:

"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."
  - Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.