SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

Inhalation of Volatile Chemicals from Residential Use of Contaminated Water


Air emissions may occur as a result of volatilization of chemicals during indoor use of contaminated water. Based on air-water partition coefficients and ventilation equations, it can be predicted that indoor use of water contaminated with volatile compounds will pose as great or greater health risk to residents as drinking the same water. Indoor air sampling data support the potential significance of inhalation exposure to contaminants in the water supply. Despite this potential, available guidance on how to quantify exposure to chemicals which volatilize from the water during home use is sketchy. For the baseline risk assessment of a site involving contaminated groundwater, the authors devised a methodology to quantify inhalation exposure while showering, operating a dishwasher, and operating a washing machine. This methodology is presented, using contaminant concentrations in the water at the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for illustrative purposes. Resulting exposure and health risk estimates for inhaling contaminants in the home are compared with estimated risks from drinking the water.

Author Information

Smith, SA
Radian Corporation, Austin, TX
Joseph, R
Radian Corporation, Austin, TX
Beck, JR
Radian Corporation, Austin, TX
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 138–150
DOI: 10.1520/STP23837S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5213-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1445-6