Periodic Reporting for period 1 - APOLLO (Assessing population health from exposure to tobacco-specific carcinogens in Belgium using an innovative wastewater-based epidemiology approach)
Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2019-03-31
To reach the first aim, an analytical procedure including sample preparation and instrumental analysis was optimised and developed for the measurement of the target (bio)markers in raw wastewater. The robustness of the methodology was validated with official guidelines. The analytical sensitivity of the target chemicals was estimated for the first time in raw wastewater. The analytical method was published in Analytical Chemical 2017, 89(17), pp. 9268-9278, a high ranking peer-review journal in analytical chemistry. Green open access is provided via the UA’s library.
Moving to the second aim, the validated analytical procedure was applied to measure concentrations of the target (bio)markers in wastewater samples collected from communities in three European countries where have different tobacco control policies. This collaborative work with other European countries was based on the research network of the Sewage Analysis Core Group Europe. Measured concentrations of the target (bio)markers were computed to population-normalised mass loads as the resulting dataset for comparison across communities.
With the obtained dataset, the final aim was achieved through the assessment of population health from tobacco use and exposure to tobacco-specific chemicals in the studied communities. Briefly, among the target (bio)markers, COT-OH, COT, ANATA, ANABA and NNK were ubiquitous in wastewater from the studied populations. NNN and NAT were also detected in some of the samples. Geographic profiles of ANABA and ANATA reflected higher levels of tobacco use in Geneva (Switzerland) and Athens (Greece) compared to Geraardsbergen and Ninove (Belgium) over the monitoring period. Besides tobacco products, population-wide consumption and exposure to non-tobacco nicotine items (e.g. electronic cigarettes) resulted in the presence of COT and COT-OH in wastewater. Furthermore, the NNK detection in the wastewater samples appeared associated with the environmental third-hand smoke, highlighting potential health risks to the populations. Particularly, Athens, where indoor smoking is not strictly executed and therefore widespread, showed the highest levels of NNK. This was in line with its presence in high amounts measured in third-hand smoke, as reported in previous studies via indoor air and surface wiping analyses. The finding remarks the future exploitation for intervention policies in reducing population-wide exposure to third-hand smoke in Greece. This work has been recently submitted to Scientific Report, an open access and high ranking peer-review journal in multidisciplinary science. This project has been also disseminated via an oral presentation in the 3rd International conference on “Wastewater-Based Drug Epidemiology” (26-27 October 2017 Portugal).