Modeling the effects of water usage and co-behavior on inhalation exposures to contaminants volatilized from household water

Charles R. Wilkes, Mitchell J. Small, Cliff I. Davidson, Julian B. Andelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The volatilization of volatile organic chemicals during domestic water usage can result in significant indoor air concentrations, and the subsequent inhalation of these contaminants is an important route of exposure. The magnitude of these exposures is highly dependent on the activities undertaken by the exposed individual, as well as the activities of other occupants of the home. The indoor air quality-exposure Model for the Analysis of Volatiles and Residential Indoor Air Quality (MARVIQ) was used to ascertain the impact of water-use activities on the potential contaminant dose to household members. Human time-activity patterns of various population groups were sampled from the California Air Resources Board database, applying distributions of water-use occurrence and water-use duration to each activity based on survey results. Indoor air concentrations in a sample house and the resulting potential inhalation dose to the occupants were computed for different individuals and pairs of individuals to test for exposure and coexposure effects. The simulated daily exposure is well described by a simplified equation that is a function of the amount of time the individual spends in the shower, the bath, and the bathroom; the total water usage in the home; and the fraction of time the individual is at home. These results can be used to identify high-risk populations, individuals, and households. The study also demonstrates the importance of further research on joint time-activity patterns in multiperson households for assessment of exposure and coexposure effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-412
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Coexposure
  • Environmental equity
  • Human time-activity behavior
  • Indoor air pollution
  • Inhalation exposure
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Organics
  • Volatization from the water supply
  • Water use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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