Refined exposure assessment for three active ingredients of humidifier disinfectants

Jong Hyeon Lee, Hyun Joong Kang, Hwi Soo Seol, Chan Kook Kim, Seung Ki Yoon, Jin Gwack, Yong Hwa Kim, Jung Hwan Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Exposure assessment for three major active ingredients used for humidifier disinfectants, polyhexamethylene guanidine (PHMG), oligo(2-(2-ethoxy)ethoxyethyl guanidinium chloride (PGH), and 5-chloro-2-methylisothiazol-3(2H)-one/2-methylisothiazol-3(2H)-one (CMIT/MIT) mixture, was conducted in a bedroom using an air sampler for a refined risk assessment. The experimental site was selected to reflect consumer exposure conditions. Aerosols formed by a humidifier were sampled during 8 hr at 7.5 L/min. Absorbed PHMG and PGH by the sampler were quantified using a spectrophotometric method, and high performance liquid chromatography-ultraviolet detection was used for CMIT/MIT. Three exposure scenarios were assumed for adding humidifier disinfectants to the humidifier water at 1, 2, and 10 times the volume recommended by the product suppliers, and the humidifier was on at its maximum rate of producing aerosols in order to consider reasonable worst-cases. The sampled mass of PHMG and PGH ranged 200 to 2,800 μg and 140 to 1,900 μg, respectively, under different exposure conditions, whereas the absorbed mass of CMIT/MIT was barely detected at the detection limit of 0.11/0.29 mg/L, only at 10 times the recommended level. The resulting risk quotients for PHMG and PGH ranged 1,400 to 20,000 and 1,000 to 13,000, indicating that health risks could be significant. For CMIT/MIT mixture, risk quotients were much smaller than estimated by assuming that they are conservative in the indoor environment, probably due to oxidative reactions. The refined exposure assessment presented here may provide a useful tool for assessing risks posed by active ingredients in spray-type biocidal products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-257
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Engineering Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Air sampler
  • Chloromethyl/methyl isothiazolinone (CMIT/MIT)
  • Indoor air
  • Polyhexmethylene biguanidine (PHMG)
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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