Chemical Reviews, Vol.119, No.6, 3510-3673, 2019
Pharmaceuticals of Emerging Concern in Aquatic Systems: Chemistry, Occurrence, Effects, and Removal Methods
In the last few decades, pharmaceuticals, credited with saving millions of lives, have emerged as a new class of environmental contaminant. These compounds can have both chronic and acute harmful effects on natural flora and fauna. The presence of pharmaceutical contaminants in ground waters, surface waters (lakes, rivers, and streams), sea water, wastewater treatment plants (influents and effluents), soils, and sludges has been well doccumented. A range of methods including oxidation, photolysis, UV degradation, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, and adsorption has been used for their remediation from aqueous systems. Many methods have been commercially limited by toxic sludge generation, incomplete removal, high capital and operating costs, and the need for skilled operating and maintenance personnel. Adsorption technologies are a low-cost alternative, easily used in developing countries where there is a dearth of advanced technologies, skilled personnel, and available capital, and adsorption appears to be the most broadly feasible pharmaceutical removal method. Adsorption remediation methods are easily integrated with wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Herein, we have reviewed the literature (1990-2018) illustrating the rising environmental pharmaceutical contamination concerns as well as remediation efforts emphasizing adsorption.