Inhalation exposure to THMs from drinking water in south Taiwan

Sci Total Environ. 2000 Jan 31;246(1):41-9. doi: 10.1016/s0048-9697(99)00420-9.


Trihalomethanes (THMs) are important disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in drinking water. To understand the magnitude of exposure to THMs for the people in southern Taiwan, models are used to estimate the inhalation exposure associated with drinking water based on raw water quality. Two parts of models are used in this study, one for estimating THM concentration from raw water quality, and one for estimating inhalation exposure to people. Important raw water quality and operational parameters, including TOC, UV254, pH, temperature, chlorine dosage, and water residence time of a major water treatment plant in south Taiwan were collected. An empirical THM formation model was then employed to predict the THM concentration at consumers' dwellings based on the parameters collected. Differences between the predicted results and experimental data were found to be small, indicating that the model is appropriate. The predicted THM concentration distribution was served as input parameters for the exposure models. Three major scenarios associated with probable inhalation exposure of THMs, including shower, pre- and post-cooking activities, and cooking processes, were considered in the exposure models. The model results show that the mean inhalation exposure of THMs for shower, pre- and post-cooking activities, and cooking processes are 26.4, 1.56, 3.29 micrograms/day, respectively. The total inhalation exposure (summation of the three scenarios) was found to be comparable with that for direct ingestion, indicating that inhalation is an important pathway for THM exposure from drinking water.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Chlorofluorocarbons, Methane / analysis
  • Chlorofluorocarbons, Methane / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure*
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Chemical
  • Volatilization
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Supply / analysis*


  • Chlorofluorocarbons, Methane
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical