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The Science of the total environment

Multi-route trihalomethane exposure in households using municipal tap water treated with chlorine or ozone-chlorine.


PMID 15740765

Abstract

In Korea, data for multi-route trihalomethane (THM) exposure in households using municipal tap water treated with ozone-chlorine or chlorine are unavailable or very limited. Accordingly, the present study was designed to obtain those data by measurements of the THM concentrations in the tap water and indoor and outdoor air in the two types of households, along with an estimation of THM exposure from water ingestion, showering, and the inhalation of indoor air. Chloroform was the most abundant THM in all three media, yet no bromoform was detected in any sample. Similar to previous findings, the winter chloroform concentration in tap water treated with chlorine (22.1 microg/l, median) was significantly higher than that in the tap water treated with ozone-chlorine (16.8 microg/l, median). However, the summer water chloroform concentrations and summer and winter water concentrations of the other two THMs (bromodichloromethane and dibromochloromethane) exhibited no significant difference between the chlorine and ozone-chlorine-treated water. It was suggested that the effects of the water parameters including biochemical oxygen demand of raw water entering water treatment plants should be considered when evaluating the advantage of ozone-chlorine disinfection for THM formation over chlorine disinfection. The indoor air THM concentration trend was also consistent with the water concentration trend. The indoor to outdoor air concentration ratios were comparable with previous studies. The THM exposure estimates from water ingestion, showering, and the inhalation of apartment indoor air when not in the shower suggested that, for residents living in the surveyed households, their exposure to THMs in the home was mostly associated with their household water uses. The THM exposure estimates from tap water ingestion were similar to those from showering.