Could wastewater analysis be a useful tool for China? A review
van Nuijs, Alexander L.N.
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Journal of environmental sciences: China - English edition. - -
, p. 70-79
University of Antwerp
Analysing wastewater samples is an innovative approach that overcomes many limitations of traditional surveys to identify and measure a range of chemicals that were consumed by or exposed to people living in a sewer. catchment area. First conceptualised in 2001, much progress has been made to make wastewater analysis (WWA) a reliable and robust tool for measuring chemical consumption and/or exposure. At the moment, the most popular application of WWA, sometimes referred as sewage epidemiology, is to monitor the consumption of illicit drugs in communities around the globe, including China. The approach has been largely adopted bylaw enforcement agencies as a device to monitor the temporal and geographical patterns of drug consumption. In the future, the methodology can be extended to other chemicals including biomarkers of population health (e.g. environmental or oxidative stress biomarkers, lifestyle indicators or medications that are taken by different demographic groups) and pollutants that people are exposed to (e.g. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, perfluorinated chemicals, and toxic pesticides). The extension of WWA to a huge range of chemicals may give rise to a field called sewage chemical-information mining (SCIM) with unexplored potentials. China has many densely populated cities with thousands of sewage treatment plants which are favourable for applying WWA/SCIM in order to help relevant authorities gather information about illicit drug consumption and population health status. However, there are some prerequisites and uncertainties of the methodology that should be addressed for SCIM to reach its full potential in China. (C) 2014 The Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier B.V.