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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.”


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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