john simpson

Wastewater Could Hold Key to Catching Future Olympic Cheats: Viewpoint

Blog Post created by john simpson on Feb 22, 2011

Wired News (San Francisco, Calif.: monthly circulation  531,491)
"Wastewater Could Hold Key to Catching Future Olympic  Cheats"
February 15


London’s Olympic Village in June 2008 was but a skeleton outline,  marked by scant concrete pilings. Yet, by the time the opening ceremonies kick  off in the summer of 2012, state-of-the-art educational facilities, health care  clinics, day care centers and health clubs will be dotted across nearly 25 acres  of new parks and open courtyards... A new idea, proposed by University of  Lancaster researchers Athanasios Katsoyiannis and Kevin Jones, suggests that  that the new sewer and wastewater pumping station, nice as they may be, may hold  a grand opportunity. Instead of simply shuttling waste, they could also be used  to blow the whistle on those athletes tainting their feats with  performance-enhancing drugs, aka PEDs. In a new viewpoint paper published in the  journal Environmental Science and Technology, Katsoyiannis and  Jones cite rigorous examples where researchershave monitored illicit drug use by  chemically analyzing wastewater, accurately and reproducibly. Building off this  knowledge — and realizing that athletes are getting consistently better at  cheating the system when it comes time for drug testing prior to competition —  the research team believes that Olympic officials might be better served by  passively monitoring the wastewater that flows from the toilets in the Olympic  Village.