Probability Distributions for Showering and Bathing Water-Use Behavior for Various U.S. Subpopulations
It has been shown that bathroom-type water uses dominate personal exposure to water-borne contaminants in the home. Therefore, in assessing exposure of specific population groups to the contaminants in the water, understanding population water-use behavior for bathroom activities as a function of demographic characteristics is vital to realistic exposure estimates. In this article, shower and bath frequencies and durations are analyzed, presented, and compared for various demographic groups derived from analyses of the National Human Activities Pattern Survey (NHAPS) database and the Residential End Uses of Water Study (REUWS) database as well as from a review of current literature. Analysis showed that age and level of education significantly influenced shower and bath frequency and duration. The frequency of showering and bathing reported in NHAPS agreed reasonably well with previous studies; however, durations of these events were found to be significantly longer. Showering frequency reported in REUWS was slightly less than that reported for NHAPS; however, durations of showers reported in REUWS are consistent with other studies. After considering the strengths and weaknesses of each data set and comparing their results to previous studies, it is concluded that NHAPS provides more reliable frequency data, while REUWS provides more reliable duration data. The shower- and bath-use behavior parameters recommended in this article can aid modelers in appropriately specifying water-use behavior as a function of demographic group in order to conduct reasonable assessments of exposure to contaminants that enter the home via the water supply.