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Sewage chemical information mining – development of a novel concept for the assessment of human exposure to pollutants through wastewater analysis


Human populations worldwide are exposed to a large number of chemical pollutants from contaminated food, personal care products and the surrounding environment. Exposure to these compounds is generally assessed by human biomonitoring - the analysis of biomarkers (excreted parent compounds or metabolic products) in biological matrices from individuals, mostly urine. Due to the several limitations of this approach, a novel concept - sewage chemical information mining (SCIM), has been proposed. This approach is based on the analysis of specific human biomarkers in urban wastewater, but its potential in studying human exposure to pollutants has been scarcely investigated.
The SCHEME project aims to contribute to the practical development and broadening of the SCIM field by developing a comprehensive analytical methodology for the determination of biomarkers of exposure to a wide range of organic pollutants, including different classes of personal care products and industrial chemicals. The biomarkers will be selected using the pharmacokinetics data and Human Metabolome Database and analysed by ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry. The developed methodology will be applied in four European cities as case studies. However, the results of this exploratory study could lead to implementation of this novel, relatively inexpensive and near real-time approach for the assessment of human exposure to pollutants. By monitoring temporal and spatial trends, communities with the highest exposure could be promptly identified. Therefore, the results of the SCHEME project will be highly valuable for obtaining relevant epidemiological information and will contribute to preventing human health problems related to pollutants exposure. The fellow’s expertise, gathered in top international research institutions, and the outstanding infrastructure and capabilities available at ICRA, makes an ideal conjunction for the successful completion of the project.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/analytical chemistry/mass spectrometry
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/water treatment processes/wastewater treatment processes

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Calle Emili Grahit Edifici H20 101
17003 Girona
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 160 932,48