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Assessing population health from exposure to tobacco-specific carcinogens in Belgium using an innovative wastewater-based epidemiology approach

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "APOLLO" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: PRINSSTRAAT 13
postcode: 2000

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Belgium [BE]
 Project website
 Total cost 160˙800 €
 EC max contribution 160˙800 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2016
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-04-01   to  2019-03-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITEIT ANTWERPEN BE (ANTWERPEN) coordinator 160˙800.00


 Project objective

Tobacco smoking is the major cause of many chronic diseases, especially cancer. Knowledge on population exposure to tobacco smoking is essential to characterise the population health. National questionnaire surveys are currently the main source of population tobacco smoking. However, surveys have clear limitations due to its dependence on true self-reported usage and representativeness of the whole population. International comparison of surveyed data is also restricted due to different questionnaire formats among nations. An additional approach allowing more objective, efficient and near real-time assessment is necessary to address this important societal issue. Hence, the project APOLLO aims at developing and validating an innovative approach, wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), for assessing population exposure to tobacco and its related carcinogens in the community. This involves analysis of raw wastewater from targeted communities for tobacco-specific biomarkers of exposure and cancer risk (the tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) and their metabolites). The project comprises three main objectives: (1) development and validation of the WBE methodology; (2) evaluation of TSNA and metabolite levels in wastewater from different Belgian communities; (3) assessment of population health from exposure to tobacco-specific carcinogens in Belgium. The completion of the project will advance our knowledge on factual and near-real-time assessment of population exposure to these carcinogens from community to national and international levels using WBE as a standardised approach. This will be also a valuable tool to evaluate the efficacy of intervention actions against tobacco smoking and its related diseases in the population and specific community e.g. prisons, high schools. This project will promote my career prospect with enhanced interdisciplinary network and research mobility in Europe.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2017 Frederic Been, Foon Yin Lai, Adrian Covaci, Alexander L.N. van Nuijs
Evaluating Substance Use via Wastewater Analysis: An Overview of Analytical Workflows
published pages: 14-20, ISSN: 1471-6577, DOI:
LC-GC Europe 35/10 2019-06-11
2018 Olivier Mortelé, Philippe Vervliet, Celine Gys, Maarten Degreef, Matthias Cuykx, Kristof Maudens, Adrian Covaci, Alexander L.N. van Nuijs, Foon Yin Lai
In vitro Phase I and Phase II metabolism of the new designer benzodiazepine cloniprazepam using liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry
published pages: 158-167, ISSN: 0731-7085, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpba.2018.02.032
Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 153 2019-06-11
2017 Foon Yin Lai, Frederic Been, Adrian Covaci, Alexander L.N. van Nuijs
Novel Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Approach Based on Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Assessing Population Exposure to Tobacco-Specific Toxicants and Carcinogens
published pages: 9268-9278, ISSN: 0003-2700, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b02052
Analytical Chemistry 89/17 2019-06-11
2017 Jianfa Gao, Andrew Banks, Jiaying Li, Guangming Jiang, Foon Yin Lai, Jochen F. Mueller, Phong K. Thai
Evaluation of in-sewer transformation of selected illicit drugs and pharmaceutical biomarkers
published pages: 1172-1181, ISSN: 0048-9697, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.231
Science of The Total Environment 609 2019-06-11
2017 Frederic Been, Michiel Bastiaensen, Foon Yin Lai, Alexander L. N. van Nuijs, Adrian Covaci
Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry Analysis of Biomarkers of Exposure to Phosphorus Flame Retardants in Wastewater to Monitor Community-Wide Exposure
published pages: 10045-10053, ISSN: 0003-2700, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b02705
Analytical Chemistry 89/18 2019-06-11
2018 Foon Yin Lai, Coral Gartner, Wayne Hall, Steve Carter, Jake O\'Brien, Benjamin J. Tscharke, Frederic Been, Cobus Gerber, Jason White, Phong Thai, Raimondo Bruno, Jeremy Prichard, K. Paul Kirkbride, Jochen F. Mueller
Measuring spatial and temporal trends of nicotine and alcohol consumption in Australia using wastewater-based epidemiology
published pages: , ISSN: 0965-2140, DOI: 10.1111/add.14157
Addiction 2019-06-11
2017 Jeremy Prichard, Foon Yin Lai, Emma van Dyken, Phong Thai, Raimondo Bruno, Wayne Hall, Paul Kirkbride, Coral Gartner, Jake O\'Brien, Jochen F. Mueller.
Wastewater analysis of substance use: Implications for Law, Policy and Research
published pages: 837-49, ISSN: 1320-159X, DOI:
Journal of Law and Medicine 2019-06-11
2017 Emma Gracia-Lor, Sara Castiglioni, Richard Bade, Frederic Been, Erika Castrignanò, Adrian Covaci, Iria González-Mariño, Evroula Hapeshi, Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern, Juliet Kinyua, Foon Yin Lai, Thomas Letzel, Luigi Lopardo, Markus R. Meyer, Jake O\'Brien, Pedram Ramin, Nikolaos I. Rousis, Axel Rydevik, Yeonsuk Ryu, Miguel M. Santos, Ivan Senta, Nikolaos S. Thomaidis, Sofia Veloutsou, Zhugen Yang, Ettore Zuccato, Lubertus Bijlsma
Measuring biomarkers in wastewater as a new source of epidemiological information: Current state and future perspectives
published pages: 131-150, ISSN: 0160-4120, DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2016.12.016
Environment International 99 2019-06-11
2017 Andrew P.W. Banks, Foon Yin Lai, Jochen F. Mueller, Guangming Jiang, Steve Carter, Phong K. Thai
Potential impact of the sewer system on the applicability of alcohol and tobacco biomarkers in wastewater-based epidemiology
published pages: , ISSN: 1942-7603, DOI: 10.1002/dta.2246
Drug Testing and Analysis 2019-06-11
2017 Foon Yin Lai, Chris Wilkins, Phong Thai, Jochen F. Mueller
An exploratory wastewater analysis study of drug use in Auckland, New Zealand
published pages: 597-601, ISSN: 0959-5236, DOI: 10.1111/dar.12509
Drug and Alcohol Review 36/5 2019-06-11
2017 Dung Phung, Jochen Mueller, Foon Yin Lai, Jake O’Brien, Nhung Dang, Lidia Morawska, Phong K. Thai
Can wastewater-based epidemiology be used to evaluate the health impact of temperature? – An exploratory study in an Australian population
published pages: 113-119, ISSN: 0013-9351, DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.03.023
Environmental Research 156 2019-06-11

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