The study, conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health, involved 50 women living in Georgia and Texas. It showed that showering shifted the distribution of trihalomethanes (THMs) in blood toward that found in the tap water in volunteers houses.
Another finding was that the distribution of trihalomethane species -- there are four chlorinated and brominated forms -- detected in the womens blood reflected differences of type and concentration in their respective local tap water.
A report on the research appeared in April in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Primary authors are Amy M. Miles, a former public health graduate student at UNC and now an environmental engineer at Research Triangle Institute, and Dr. Philip C. Singer, professor of environmental sciences and engineering at UNC.
Chlorination of tap water was one of the most important improvements made in public health, and it saves countless lives each year by reducing risk from bacterial contamination, Miles said. Water-borne diseases used to be a major cause of death and illness, and they still are in some parts of the world without chlorination.
Despite its obvious benefits, if chlorination creates its own lesser but significant risks, as many scientists believe, it needs to be studied further, she said. Many water treatment plants are switching to alternative disinfectants to reduce trihalomethane concentrations in drinking water.
The new study aimed to evaluate whether health workers could use drinking water concentrations of THM to pre
Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill