On Thursday, 24 May, former KWR staff member Ana Causanilles successfully defended her thesis, titled ‘Wastewater-based epidemiology, an analytical chemical approach for the investigation of human consumption of lifestyle chemicals’, in the Agnietenkapel of the University of Amsterdam.
During a lively discussion with her external examiners, Causanilles demonstrated her knowledge in the field of wastewater chemical analysis. The wastewater data she collected shed light on the use and consumption of all sorts of substances by the population. Causanilles’ research focussed mainly on the use of hard drugs, doping and illegally acquired pharmaceuticals. Her research showed for instance that amateur athletes use the dangerous slimming agent dinitrophenol during bodybuilding events, and that the erectile dysfunction agent sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) is procured and used on a large scale in the Netherlands without prescription.