Opinion: Listen: A biostatistician on the ‘gold mine’ in our sewers

What if every time we went to the bathroom, we could say we contributed to a local public health initiative?

In this week’s episode of the “First Opinion Podcast,” biostatistician Aparna Keshaviah digs into the benefits of wastewater testing as a public health measure. Sewers carry all sorts of information about a community, including the personal care products people use, the drugs they take, and even biomarkers of disease. While the practice has become more widely understood during the Covid-19 pandemic, Keshaviah says that if standardized, wastewater testing could be a boon to public health work.

“Wastewater is this hidden gold mine that’s free-flowing under our feet everyday,” Keshaviah said. “There’s a whole lot of things that our bodies signal about ourselves and about our health that can be measured in sewage.”

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The conversation stems from Keshaviah’s First Opinion, “Next steps for wastewater testing to help end this pandemic — and prevent the next one.

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Source: STAT