Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 5485–5499 | Cite as

Probabilistic health risk assessment of nitrosamines in drinking water of Shaoxing, Zhejiang, China

  • Yuanyuan Yin
  • Tong Li
  • Duyi Kuang
  • Yuanan Lu
  • Yan Shen
  • Jun Xu
  • Songhui Jiang
  • Xia WangEmail author
Research Article


Nitrosamines (NAms) are potent genotoxic and carcinogenic but widely detected in drinking water. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence of major types of NAms in drinking water in Shaoxing, China, and to conduct multi-pathway probabilistic cancer risk (CR) assessment to residents based on age-dependent adjustment Chinese exposure factors. Results showed that concentrations of NAms in water varied from not detected (ND) to dozens of nanograms per liter level. N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was detected most frequently (93.06%), followed by N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) (64.08%)—with the highest cancer risk among NAms. The CR of NAms came mainly through the oral exposure pathway. The 95th percentile of the total CR of five major NAms was 1.06 × 10−4, exceeding the maximum acceptable lifetime CR (1 × 10−4) recommended by US EPA. Exposure to NDEA contributed the highest to the total CR. The CR of the five NAms through ingestion was 2.5 times higher using the Chinese exposure factors than that of the Americans. The most important variables related to CRs were concentrations of NAms in drinking water, exposure duration, drinking water ingestion rate, and exposure time during bathing. Our findings suggest the urgent need to develop and enforce effective regulatory policies to control the contamination of NAms in drinking water in China.

Graphical abstract


Probabilistic risk assessment Nitrosamines Multi-pathway risk assessment Exposure factors Monte Carlo simulation Drinking water 



This study was supported by Nonprofit Foundation of National Health Ministry in the Twelfth Five Year Plan (No. 201302004) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81472934). We would like to thank Dr. Zhijie Zhang for suggestion of data processing and also Mr. Xiang Wang, Dr. Weiwei Zheng, Dr. Ying Zhou, and Shanghai Institute of Occupational Disease for Chemical Industry for the assistance in sample analysis.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_4026_MOESM1_ESM.docx (52 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 52.3 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of the Public Health Safety, Ministry of Education, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public HealthFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Hongkou DistrictShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  4. 4.Shaoxing Water Environmental Science and Research Institute Co. Ltd.ShaoxingChina
  5. 5.Songliuling Water Treatment PlantShaoxing Water Treating Co. Ltd.ShaoxingChina

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