Assessment of Human Dietary Ingestion Exposures to Water Disinfection Byproducts via Food

EPA Grant Number: R826836
Title: Assessment of Human Dietary Ingestion Exposures to Water Disinfection Byproducts via Food
Investigators: Raymer, James H. , Akland, Gerald G. , Clayton, C. Andrew , Pellizzari, Edo D. , Smith, D. J.
Current Investigators: Raymer, James H. , Akland, Gerald G. , Hu, Ye A. , Marrero, Thomas , Michael, Lisa J. , Pellizzari, Edo D. , Unnam, Vasu , Weinberg, Howard S.
Institution: Desert Research Institute
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: October 1, 1998 through September 30, 2003
Project Amount: $446,468
RFA: Drinking Water (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Drinking Water , Water


The overall objective of this research is to estimate the magnitude of exposure to disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in drinking water via their ingestion after uptake into food during cooking. It has been shown in our laboratory that foods can become contaminated with chemicals in the water used in the home during food preparation, e.g., cooking. The magnitude of this contamination process has not been studied. This research will specifically address the uptake of compounds known to arise from the process of water disinfection (ozonation in conjunction with a secondary process such as chloramination) including non-halogenated aldehydes, ketones and acids, trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, bromate, chloropicrin, and haloacetonitriles. The main hypotheses to be tested are (a) foods prepared using contaminated water become contaminated; (b) food is a significant source of DBP exposure; (c) DBP concentrations in food can be predicted with knowledge of DBP concentrations in tap water and foods consumed; and (d) dietary exposures of children are higher for an adult living in the same household.


Analytical methods will be developed for ozonation DBPs in foods and beverages. Controlled, laboratory experiments will be conducted to determine how selected DBPs, especially those produced during ozonation, are adsorbed by food during the cooking process. Other DBP methods for foods and beverages for halogenated compounds (currently under development) will be brought in as needed. The relation between DBP concentrations in water and in foods following cooking in contaminated water will be modeled. This research will specifically address food items commonly eaten by children, in addition to food items eaten by adults, so that estimates of ingestion of the study compounds to this subgroup can be determined. A field study will be conducted in two cities each having different factors in water disinfection, e.g., secondary disinfection, bromide concentration, high dissolved organic carbon, in order to test the validity of the model for predicting potential exposures and to estimate the human exposures to DBPs from food and water.

Expected Results:

The major benefit is that current risk assessments assume that ingestion consists of adding the concentration levels of the specific compounds known to exist in the drinking water (multiplied by the normal assumption of volume of drinking water consumed) to the levels of the specific compounds which exist in the food, as determined by FDA in various surveys. However, this research will attempt to verify that the estimates of exposure related to ingestion actually underestimate the actual exposures, and estimate the amount of underestimation for the two population groups of interest -- children and adults, based on actual measurements of in-home prepared foods and drinking water. Furthermore, this research will provide new information on dietary exposure to a specific set of compounds that is currently not available. The risk assessment process will be improved in that a greater understanding of DBP exposure via food will be obtained. Confirmation of the significance of this exposure pathway for DBPs will lead to more accurate risk assessments, and provide evidence for judging the extent to which children might be included in the portion of the population which has these higher total exposures.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 8 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

drinking water, disinfection byproducts, DBPs, food, human exposure, ozonation, children., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Water, National Recommended Water Quality, Health Risk Assessment, Chemistry, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Disease & Cumulative Effects, Children's Health, genetic susceptability, Drinking Water, disinfection byproducts, risk assessment, sensitive populations, trihalomethane, dissinfection biproducts, disinfection biproducts, aldehydes, biomarkers, haloacetonitriles, human health effects, trihalomethanes, detection, exposure and effects, chemical byproducts, disinfection byproducts (DPBs), exposure, THM, DBPs , children, bromate formation, brominated DPBs, food, human exposure, treatment, haloacetic acids, analytical chemistry, chloramines, diet, water quality, cooking, dietary exposure, dietary ingestion exposures, drinking water contaminants, DBPs, ketones, DBP exposure, drinking water system, ozonation, environmental hazard exposures

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • Final Report