Chloroform exposure and the health risk associated with multiple uses of chlorinated tap water

Risk Anal. 1990 Dec;10(4):581-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.1990.tb00542.x.


Recently, showers have been suspected to be an important source of indoor exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOC). The chloroform dose to an individual from showering was determined based on exhaled breath analysis. The postexposure chloroform breath concentration ranged from 6.0-21 micrograms/m3, while all corresponding background breath concentrations were less than 0.86 micrograms/m3. The internal dose from showering (inhalation plus dermal) was comparable to estimates of the dose from daily water ingestion. The risk associated with a single, 10-min shower was estimated to be 1.22 x 10(-4), while the estimated risk from daily ingestion of tap water ranged from 0.130 x 10(-4) to 1.80 x 10(-4) for 0.15 and 2.0 L, respectively. Since the estimates of chloroform risk from domestic water use for the three exposure routes--ingestion, inhalation, and dermal--are similar, all routes must be used to calculate the total risk when making policy decisions regarding the quality of the municipal water supply.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / analysis
  • Body Burden
  • Breath Tests
  • Chloroform / administration & dosage
  • Chloroform / analysis*
  • Chloroform / pharmacokinetics
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Risk
  • Skin Absorption
  • Water Supply / analysis*


  • Chloroform