Disability-adjusted life years (DALY) applied to trihalomethanes, Haloacetic Acids

Keep in mind that application of DALYs in this manner is not widely accepted because underlying assumptions are problematic.

Pan S, An W, Li H, Su M, Zhang J, Yang M. Cancer risk assessment on trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids in drinking water of China using disability-adjusted life years. J Hazard Mater. 2014 Aug 13;280C:288-294. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2014.07.080.

The cancer risks from exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) through multiple pathways were assessed based on the result of a water quality survey in 35 major cities of China. To express the risks in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), the excess cancer incidence estimates were combined with a two-stage disease model for calculation. The median total cancer risk of THMs and HAAs was calculated as 7.34×10-7 DALYs per person-year (ppy), lower than the reference level of risk (10-6DALYsppy) set by WHO. The risk from ingestion and inhalation exposures contributed 93.6% and 6.3% of the total risk respectively, while dermal contact made a negligible contribution. The median risk of trichloroacetic acid (TCAA) (2.12×10-7DALYsppy) was highest among the disinfection by-products (DBPs) considered. The risk ratio of total HAAs (THAA) to total THMs (TTHM) was 1.12. The risk was highest in northeast China while lowest in northwest China. As for the 35 cities, Tianjin had the highest risk while Yinchuan had the lowest. This study attempted to use DALYs for the risk assessment of DBPs, which will provide useful information for risk comparison and prioritization of hazards in drinking water.

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