A model denominated Consumption Habit Exposure Model, (CHEM), was developed for the calculation of human individual acute and chronic exposure to copper in drinking water. The model can estimate daily exposure of individuals as well as the maximum concentration of copper which individuals ingest during a 24-h period. The CHEM model requires carrying out a water consumption habit questionnaire and measuring the minimum and maximum concentration of copper in homes, as well as minimum and random copper concentration at work and study places. The case study employed was a representative sample of the population of Santiago, Chile. The validation of the model was established with reference to the application in a limited number of homes of the composite proportional method, (CPS), used to measure human chronic ingestion of contaminants from drinking water. It was found that 4.5% of the sampled population is exposed daily to one cup of water or more at the maximum copper concentration available at the tap. The probabilities that the different age groups are exposed to one cup or more of water at c(MAX) during 1 day are greater for the 20-64-year-old group, followed by the 64-year-old group, and then by the younger age groups in descending order. Ingestion of copper from drinking water by the population of Santiago is on average 9.0% of the World Health Organization recommendations for minimum total ingestion of copper for adults, assuming that 100% of the copper contained in drinking water is absorbed. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.
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