Passive exposures of children to volatile trihalomethanes during domestic cleaning activities of their parents

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Domestic cleaning has been proposed as a determinant of trihalomethanes (THMs) exposure in adult females. We hypothesized that parental housekeeping activities could influence children's passive exposures to THMs from their mere physical presence during domestic cleaning. In a recent cross-sectional study (n=382) in Cyprus [41 children (<18y) and 341 adults (≥18y)], we identified 29 children who met the study's inclusion criteria. Linear regression models were applied to understand the association between children sociodemographic variables, their individual practices influencing ingestion and noningestion exposures to ΣTHMs, and their urinary THMs levels. Among the children-specific variables, age alone showed a statistically significant inverse association with their creatinine-adjusted urinary ΣTHMs (rS=−0.59, p<0.001). A positive correlation was observed between urinary ΣTHMs (ng g−1) of children and matched-mothers (rS=0.52, p=0.014), but this was not the case for their matched-fathers (rS=0.39, p=0.112). Time spent daily by the matched-mothers for domestic mopping, toilet and other cleaning activities using chlorine-based cleaning products was associated with their children's urinary THMs levels (rS=0.56, p=0.007). This trend was not observed between children and their matched-fathers urinary ΣTHMs levels, because of minimum amount of time spent by the latter in performing domestic cleaning. The proportion of variance of creatinine-unadjusted and adjusted urinary ΣTHMs levels in children that was explained by the matched-mothers covariates was 76% and 74% (p<0.001), respectively. A physiologically-based pharmacokinetic model adequately predicted urinary chloroform excretion estimates, being consistent with the corresponding measured levels. Our findings highlighted the influence of mothers' domestic cleaning activities towards enhancing passive THMs exposures of their children. The duration of such activities could be further tested as a valid indicator of children's THMs body burden.

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