TPS 931: Water and foodborne chemicals, Exhibition Hall, Ground floor, August 28, 2019, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Background/Aim: Wastewater contains numerous chemicals which reflect the health and lifestyle of individuals in a population. This is the basis of wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), which traditionally measures drug and pharmaceutical consumption. However, the extent to which the consumption of chemicals is influenced by social or economic factors is not clear. We address this knowledge gap by exploring relationships between WBE biomarkers to population age and socioeconomics.
Methods: Wastewater was from 21 Australian wastewater treatment plants (WTPs) collected during the time of the 2016 national census. 50 chemical substances including licit and illcit drugs, pharmaceuticals, vitamin consumption markers were measured in these wastewater samples. Catchment age and socioeconomic index at the time of sampling was calculated for each WTP using national census results. Data were analysed by correlation and partial least squares analyses.
Results: Socioeconomically advantaged populations generally exhibited lower loads of opioids and higher loads of caffeine. Catchments with older median age typically had lower vitamin, citrus and fibre consumption, and these biomarkers predicted for higher socioeconomic index in our modelling stdudies. We further discuss the limitations of models for inferring population age and socioeconomics using biomarkers in wastewater.
Conclusion: Our study shows the extent to which different biomarkers in wastewater are influenced by population age and socioeconomics. This is also the first wastewater study using biomarkers of food and diet.