41st Annual Alcohol Epidemiology Symposium of the Kettil Bruun Society
Dissemination on alcohol measurements in wastewater at the 41st Annual Alcohol Epidemiology Symposium of the Kettil Bruun Society, Munich, June 1-5, 2015
Published measurements of alcohol consumption in wastewater has so far been few. Alcohol research has, however, for many years been engaged in measurements of consumption, both empirically and as part of theoretical development. An established theory implies that doubling of consumption causes that alcohol related problems would increase four-fold. Monitoring of consumption and development of policies and prevention measures aiming at limiting consumption is therefore of outmost importance to reduce alcohol related problems.
So far, consumption of alcohol in the population has been studied by two methods: general population surveys asking for the frequency and quantity of alcohol use at the individual level, and sales and production figures at the aggregated level. Wastewater measurements is a third possibility, measuring real time consumption, which can become an important supplement to the two other methods.
The annual symposium of the Kettil Bruun society was an excellent possibility to inform alcohol epidemiology researchers from all over the world about this, to them, new method. Almost 200 researchers attended the conference and 25-30 of them came to listen to the presentation at one of five parallel sessions. The interest during the discussion and after the presentation showed that the method was generally accepted and of interest. The challenge is now for wastewater researchers and laboratories to include alcohol measurements in their range of procedures, based on sound scientific principles and practices. Co-operation between wastewater researchers and traditional alcohol epidemiology researches must be strengthened to take advantage of the potential that is present for a wide range of scientific tasks within alcohol epidemiology.
The symposium paper is available here.