Menthol-rich Air in 1970's home

(W. Britt Treece, CMI) #1

Hey, guys, I was called out to investigate the air quality in a 1970s home in which the original patriarch smoked for over 30 years. The tobacco smell wasn’t present, but a strong menthol (like cough drop or chest rub) smell emanated from the kitchen area, with the original hardwood cabinets all around.

The father passed away and the daughter now owns the home and complains of the smell. My working theory is that the hardwoods have held the smell and are slowly releasing it, but I don’t know much about hardwoods, smoking, or menthol. Anyone have a theory?

(Barry Adair, TREC#4563 EIFSTX#39) #2

or other scented cleaner
once it get’s into wood/product almost impossible to get out

(William B. Ogletree, TREC License #22530) #3

If the cabinets are painted or varnished, it’s hard to imagine that they could absorb or release a significant amount of anything.

Out of curiosity, is investigating air quality a specialty in which you have training or certification?

(Frank Rotte, , CPI, San Diego Home Inspector) #4

What do you use to quantitatively evaluate residual cigarette smoke? Just curious.

(Robert Young) #5

Do not think air quality persay.
Methanol is the simplest alcohol, being only a methyl group linked to a hydroxyl group. It is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor very similar to that of ethanol (drinking alcohol).

methanol is highly toxic and unfit for consumption. Methanol Fires are invisible.

I have a Leakator 10 in one of my 3 bags at almost every residential home inspection or commercial inspection.
The Leakator 10 Sniffer for short, sniffs for All hydrocarbons/combustible gases, including but not limited to: acetone, acetylene, benzene, butane, ethanol, ethylene oxide, gasoline, hexane, hydrogen, industrial solvents, methane, methanol, naphtha, natural gas, paint thinners and propane.

Methanol is a VOC, volatile organic gas. Purchase a sniffer.

(Robert Young) #6

Menthol is a natural substance which is either acquired normally or produced from mint plants. It has a wax-like, pliant crystalline framework and will burn at a temperature a little bit above the room temperature. Having a general name methyl salicylate, menthol is generally known for its chilling effect and also has an ability to cure various health conditions. Hence, for its healing qualities, it has been used as a natural solution in many products like lotions, balms, creams, fumigations, etc.

(Jeffrey R. Jonas) #7

Gramps was cooking Meth!!!