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Water Res. 2014 Jun 1;56:203-13. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2014.02.013. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Assessment of relative potential for Legionella species or surrogates inhalation exposure from common water uses.

Author information

1
Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, OH, USA.
2
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Homeland Security Research Center, 26 West Martin Luther King Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA.
3
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Homeland Security Research Center, 26 West Martin Luther King Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA. Electronic address: taft.sarah@epa.gov.

Abstract

The Legionella species have been identified as important waterborne pathogens in terms of disease morbidity and mortality. Microbial exposure assessment is a tool that can be utilized to assess the potential of Legionella species inhalation exposure from common water uses. The screening-level exposure assessment presented in this paper developed emission factors to model aerosolization, quantitatively assessed inhalation exposures of aerosolized Legionella species or Legionella species surrogates while evaluating two generalized levels of assumed water concentrations, and developed a relative ranking of six common in-home uses of water for potential Legionella species inhalation exposure. Considerable variability in the calculated exposure dose was identified between the six identified exposure pathways, with the doses differing by over five orders of magnitude in each of the evaluated exposure scenarios. The assessment of exposure pathways that have been epidemiologically associated with legionellosis transmission (ultrasonic and cool mist humidifiers) produced higher estimated inhalation exposure doses than pathways where epidemiological evidence of transmission has been less strong (faucet and shower) or absent (toilets and therapy pool). With consideration of the large uncertainties inherent in the exposure assessment process used, a relative ranking of exposure pathways from highest to lowest exposure doses was produced using culture-based measurement data and the assumption of constant water concentration across exposure pathways. In this ranking, the ultrasonic and cool mist humidifier exposure pathways were estimated to produce the highest exposure doses, followed by the shower and faucet exposure pathways, and then the toilet and therapy pool exposure pathways.

KEYWORDS:

Drinking water; Inhalation; Legionella species; Legionellosis; Microbial exposure assessment

PMID:
24681377
DOI:
10.1016/j.watres.2014.02.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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