The latest discovery: The obvious difference between the rich and poor areas has not been hidden in the sewage: the food and medicine residues we eat can more fully supplement our living conditions.
The study was conducted in Sweden. Researchers took samples from 22 wastewater treatment plant catchments and examined 42 biomarkers, including food and drug metabolites.
Later, they compared the content of these markers with census data such as rent, employment, and education levels in each region, and reached surprising conclusions.
“We found that the consumption of chemical substances, such as opioids and illicit drugs, was reduced to a certain extent, which was correlated with sociodemographics. We also checked the correlation between individual food and stool consumption, dietary differences and education .
In affluent areas, biomarkers are associated with better eating habits. Those who are at a relatively low level of socioeconomic status are unlikely to follow the nutritional guidelines.
The more affluent and well-educated areas, the dietary intake of B vitamins (non-supplements) produces significantly more metabolites. Concentrations of biomarkers related to the large consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains are also high.
Interestingly, caffeine consumption is also higher in wealthier areas. Coffee consumption is quite popular, but consumption is higher among people with better socioeconomic conditions, especially ground coffee and espresso, rather than instant coffee.
Researchers believe that the increase in caffeine consumption among the socioeconomically advantageous population may reflect:
1) Greater financial freedom makes them addicted to caffeinated beverages
2) Educated people have a higher recognition of coffee (compared to other beverages)
Differences in drug use
In the lower socioeconomic areas, the level of prescription drugs used to treat depression, chronic pain, and blood pressure is significantly higher.
Researchers can even associate demographic data with specific types of drug use. such as:
Among the people taking the prescription drug Divenfalacine, manual workers accounted for a higher proportion;
Amitriptyline is most commonly used by people with a high school degree or less;
People who take citalopram are more likely to live alone and often live apart or divorce.
The above research results are highly consistent with other research conclusions about the lifestyles of population groups.
Wastewater-based epidemiology is relatively new and has so far been mainly used for research and monitoring of legal and illegal drug use.
The researchers wrote: “Our research shows that the chemicals in wastewater reflect the social, demographic, and economic characteristics of their respective populations, and highlight the potential value of wastewater in studying the sociodemographic determinants of population health.”
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