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Water 2016, 8(11), 542; doi:10.3390/w8110542

Quantifying the UK Online Interest in Substances of the EU Watchlist for Water Monitoring: Diclofenac, Estradiol, and the Macrolide Antibiotics

1
Business and Environmental Technology Economics Lab, Environmental Engineering Department, Democritus University of Thrace, 671 00 Xanthi, Greece
2
Department of Pharmacy and Forensic Science, King’s College London, Fifth Floor, Franklin-Wilkins Building, Waterloo Campus, London SE1 9NH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mustafa M. Aral
Received: 26 September 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality and Health)
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Abstract

Due to the increased interest in micropollutants, this paper aims at quantifying and analyzing the UK online interest in Diclofenac, Estradiol, Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, and Erythromycin, substances included in the EU watchlist for monitoring, in order to examine if the public’s online behavior and the use of these substances, in terms of issued prescriptions, are correlated. Using time series data from Google Trends from January 2004 to December 2014, an analysis of these substances in the UK, and in each UK region, i.e., England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, is at first performed, followed by an analysis of interest by substance. The results show high interest in Diclofenac with a slight decline, while the Macrolides are significantly less popular though increasing. For Estradiol, the interest is low and declining throughout the examined period, in contrast to the scientific community, where Estradiol is the most studied substance. Prescription items and Google hits are highly correlated in the UK for Diclofenac, Azithromycin, and Clarithromycin, while no correlation is observed for Estradiol. Results from this study indicated that online search traffic data can be valuable in examining the public’s online behavior towards the monitored micropollutants, and could assist with the evaluation and forecasting of their concentrations in the waste, surface, and ground water in the UK. View Full-Text
Keywords: azithromycin; big data; clarithromycin; diclofenac; erythromycin; estradiol; Google trends; macrolide antibiotics; online behavior; prescriptions azithromycin; big data; clarithromycin; diclofenac; erythromycin; estradiol; Google trends; macrolide antibiotics; online behavior; prescriptions
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mavragani, A.; Sypsa, K.; Sampri, A.; Tsagarakis, K.P. Quantifying the UK Online Interest in Substances of the EU Watchlist for Water Monitoring: Diclofenac, Estradiol, and the Macrolide Antibiotics. Water 2016, 8, 542.

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