Background: Studies of disinfection by-products in drinking water and measures of adverse fetal growth have often been limited by exposure assessment lacking data on individual water use, and therefore failing to reflect individual variation in DBP exposure.
Methods: Pregnant women recruited to the Born in Bradford cohort study completed a questionnaire which covers water exposure. Information was collected on water consumption, showering, bathing and swimming. Water exposure data from a subset of 39 women of the cohort are described here.
Results: Mean total tap water intake was 1.8 l/day, and women on average spent 146 minutes per week showering and bathing. Most tap water intake occurred at home (100% for unemployed, 71.8% for employed). Differences between age groups were observed for total tap water intake overall (p = 0.02) and at home (p = 0.01), and for bottled water intake (p = 0.05). There were differences between ethnic groups for tap water intake at home (p = 0.02) and total tap water intake at work (p = 0.02). Total tap water intake at work differed by income category (p = 0.001). Duration per shower was inversely correlated with age (Spearman's correlation -0.39, p = 0.02), and differed according to employment status (p = 0.04), ethnicity (p = 0.02) and income (p = 0.02).
Conclusion: This study provides estimates of water exposure in pregnant women in a multi-ethnic population in the north of England and suggests differences related to age, employment, income and ethnicity. The findings are valuable to inform exposure assessment in studies assessing the relationship between DBPs and adverse birth outcomes.