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Research article2024Peer reviewed

Integrating different tools and technologies to advance drinking water quality exposure assessments

Schullehner, Joerg; Cserbik, Dora; Gago-Ferrero, Pablo; Lundqvist, Johan; Nuckols, John R.


Contaminants in drinking water are a major contributor to the human exposome and adverse health effects. Assessing drinking water exposure accurately in health studies is challenging, as several of the following study design domains should be addressed as adequately as possible. In this paper, we identify the domains Time, Space, Data Quality, Data Accessibility, economic considerations of Study Size, and Complex Mixtures. We present case studies for three approaches or technologies that address these domains differently in the context of exposure assessment of drinking water quality: regulated contaminants in monitoring databases, high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS)-based wide-scope chemical analysis, and effect-based bioassay methods. While none of these approaches address all the domains sufficiently, together they have the potential to carry out exposure assessments that would complement each other and could advance the state-of-science towards more accurate risk analysis. The aim of our study is to give researchers investigating health effects of drinking water quality the impetus to consider how their exposure assessments relate to the above-mentioned domains and whether it would be worthwhile to integrate the advanced technologies presented into planned risk analyses. We highly suggest this three-pronged approach should be further evaluated in health risk analyses, especially epidemiological studies concerning contaminants in drinking water. The state of the knowledge regarding potential benefits of these technologies, especially when applied in tandem, provides more than sufficient evidence to support future research to determine the implications of combining the approaches described in our case studies in terms of protection of public health.


Emerging Contaminants; Exposure Modeling; Environmental Monitoring

Published in

Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
2024, Volume: 34, number: 1, pages: 108–114

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences
    Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

    Publication identifier


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