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Our Sewage, Opioids, and the Coronavirus

A year or so ago, I spoke with Rolf Halden about his work in detecting the amounts of drugs in a municipal sewage stream.

Halden┬áis a professor of environmental engineering at Arizona State University in Tempe, and runs the school’s Biodesign Institute.

He and his fellow researchers have used technology to parse out all that’s in a city’s wastewater — antihistamines, viruses, opiates of one kind or another, and much more. Some 350 cities worldwide use his group’s sewage analyses.

Sewage is an information superhighway, in Halden’s estimation, for all it can tell today about our health and wellness.

I called him again not long ago when I heard he was using this same technology to help a city determine where its outbreaks of coronavirus might be happening, starting first with Tempe.

Here’s my conversation with a fascinating fellow – about 20 minutes. Hope you like it. Please share it if you do.

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