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Sci Total Environ. 1998 Jul 11;218(1):1-7.

Estimates of cancer risk from chloroform exposure during showering in Taiwan.

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Institute of Environmental Health, China Medical College, Taichung, Taiwan.


The purpose of this study was to compare the cancer risk with chloroform exposure during showering. The study concentrated on the three major metropolitan areas of Taiwan. Total exposure was measured based on a combination of ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption. A total of 137 tap water samples were taken from 26 locations within the Taipei (north), Taichung (central) and Kaohsiung (south) areas. Analysis of VOC compounds was performed according to the US EPA Method 524. Chloroform concentrations were highest in Kaohsiung (60.19 micrograms/l), followed by Taipei (18.83 micrograms/l) and Taichung (17.55 micrograms/l). Based on the two-resistance theory to volatilization in showers, when air flow rate is increased, chloroform concentrations in the air significantly decrease. A 10-min shower would result in chloroform exposure with a 3:4:3 ratio (ingestion, inhalation, skin absorption). However, that changes to 1:7:2 for a 20-min shower under the same conditions. The cancer risk was highest in Kaohsiung at 17.59 per million for a 10-min shower and 64.77 per million for a 20-min shower. The lowest cancer risk was found in Taichung at 4.99 and 11.50 per million for a 10- and 20-min shower, respectively. Although ingestion is commonly considered to be the primary source of exposure to chloroform from tap water, inhalation and skin absorption exposure concentrations were found to be even higher.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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