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Title: Assessing Inhalation Exposures Associated with Contamination Events in Water Distribution Systems

When a water distribution system (WDS) is contaminated, short-term inhalation exposures to airborne contaminants could occur as the result of domestic water use. The most important domestic sources of such exposures are likely to be showering and the use of aerosol-producing humidifiers, i.e., ultrasonic and impeller (cool-mist) units. A framework is presented for assessing the potential effects of short-term, system-wide inhalation exposures that could result from such activities during a contamination event. This framework utilizes available statistical models for showering frequency and duration, available exposure models for showering and humidifier use, and experimental results on both aerosol generation and the volatilization of chemicals during showering. New models for the times when showering occurs are developed using time-use data for the United States. Given a lack of similar models for how humidifiers are used, or the information needed to develop them, an analysis of the sensitivity of results to assumptions concerning humidifier use is presented. The framework is applied using network models for three actual WDSs. Simple models are developed for estimating upper bounds on the potential effects of system-wide inhalation exposures associated with showering and humidifier use. From a system-wide, population perspective, showering could result in significant inhalation doses ofmore » volatile chemical contaminants, and humidifier use could result in significant inhalation doses of microbial contaminants during a contamination event. From a system-wide perspective, showering is unlikely to be associated with significant doses of microbial contaminants. In conclusion, given the potential importance of humidifiers as a source of airborne contaminants during a contamination event, an improved understanding of the nature of humidifier use is warranted.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Environmental Science Division
  2. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Cincinnati, OH (United States). National Homeland Security Research Center
  3. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Global Security Sciences Division
Publication Date:
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Accepted Manuscript
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Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-6203
Public Library of Science
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
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