Routes of chloroform exposure and body burden from showering with chlorinated tap water

Risk Anal. 1990 Dec;10(4):575-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.1990.tb00541.x.


While there is an awareness of the need to quantify inhalation exposure from showers, the potential for dermal exposure to organic contaminants in showers has not been appreciated or explored. To establish routes of environmental exposure from showers, comparisons of the concentration of chloroform in exhaled breath after a normal shower with municipal tap water were made with those after an inhalation-only exposure. The postexposure chloroform breath concentrations ranged from 6.0-21 micrograms/m3 for normal showers and 2.4 to 10 micrograms/m3 for inhalation-only exposure, while the pre-exposure concentrations were all less than the minimum detection limit of 0.86 micrograms/m3. According to an F-test, the difference between the normal shower and the inhalation-only exposures was considered significant at a probability of p = 0.0001. Based on the difference, the mean internal dose due to dermal exposure was found to be approximately equal to that due to the inhalation exposure. The effect of the showering activities on the concentration of chloroform shower air was examined by comparing air concentrations during a normal shower with the air concentrations obtained when the shower was unoccupied. The F-test showed that there is no significant difference between the two sets of data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Body Burden
  • Breath Tests*
  • Chloroform / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation
  • Male
  • Skin Absorption
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Supply / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Chloroform