Systematic and day-to-day effects of chemical-derived population estimates on wastewater-based drug epidemiology

Lai, Foon Yin, Anuj, Shalona, Bruno, Raimondo, Carter, Steve, Gartner, Coral, Hall, Wayne, Kirkbride, K. Paul, Mueller, Jochen F., O'Brien, Jake W., Prichard, Jeremy, Thai, Phong K and Ort, Christoph (2015) Systematic and day-to-day effects of chemical-derived population estimates on wastewater-based drug epidemiology. Environmental Science and Technology, 49 2: 999-1008. doi:10.1021/es503474d

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Author Lai, Foon Yin
Anuj, Shalona
Bruno, Raimondo
Carter, Steve
Gartner, Coral
Hall, Wayne
Kirkbride, K. Paul
Mueller, Jochen F.
O'Brien, Jake W.
Prichard, Jeremy
Thai, Phong K
Ort, Christoph
Title Systematic and day-to-day effects of chemical-derived population estimates on wastewater-based drug epidemiology
Journal name Environmental Science and Technology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1520-5851
Publication date 2015-01-20
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1021/es503474d
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 49
Issue 2
Start page 999
End page 1008
Total pages 10
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher American Chemical Society
Language eng
Abstract Wastewater-based epidemiology is an established approach for quantifying community drug use and has recently been applied to estimate population exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and phthalate plasticizers. A major source of uncertainty in the population weighted biomarker loads generated is related to estimating the number of people present in a sewer catchment at the time of sample collection. Here, the population quantified from mobile device-based population activity patterns was used to provide dynamic population normalized loads of illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals during a known period of high net fluctuation in the catchment population. Mobile device-based population activity patterns have for the first time quantified the high degree of intraday, week, and month variability within a specific sewer catchment. Dynamic population normalization showed that per capita pharmaceutical use remained unchanged during the period when static normalization would have indicated an average reduction of up to 31%. Per capita illicit drug use increased significantly during the monitoring period, an observation that was only possible to measure using dynamic population normalization. The study quantitatively confirms previous assessments that population estimates can account for uncertainties of up to 55% in static normalized data. Mobile device-based population activity patterns allow for dynamic normalization that yields much improved temporal and spatial trend analysis.
Formatted abstract
Population size is crucial when estimating population-normalized drug consumption (PNDC) from wastewater-based drug epidemiology (WBDE). Three conceptually different population estimates can be used: de jure (common census, residence), de facto (all persons within a sewer catchment), and chemical loads (contributors to the sampled wastewater). De facto and chemical loads will be the same where all households contribute to a central sewer system without wastewater loss. This study explored the feasibility of determining a de facto population and its effect on estimating PNDC in an urban community over an extended period. Drugs and other chemicals were analyzed in 311 daily composite wastewater samples. The daily estimated de facto population (using chemical loads) was on average 32% higher than the de jure population. Consequently, using the latter would systemically overestimate PNDC by 22%. However, the relative day-to-day pattern of drug consumption was similar regardless of the type of normalization as daily illicit drug loads appeared to vary substantially more than the population. Using chemical loads population, we objectively quantified the total methodological uncertainty of PNDC and reduced it by a factor of 2. Our study illustrated the potential benefits of using chemical loads population for obtaining more robust PNDC data in WBDE.
Keyword General Chemistry
Environmental Chemistry
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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