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A Review on Emerging Pollutants in the Water Environment

Existences, Health Effects and Treatment Processes

17 November 2021


Antibiotics are one form of emerging pollutants (EPs) or micropollutants

Authors: Nor Zaiha Arman, Salmiati Salmiati, Azmi Aris, Mohd Razman Salim, Tasnia Hassan Nazifa, Mimi Suliza Muhamad and Marpongahtun Marpongahtun


Emerging pollutants (EPs), also known as micropollutants, have become a major global issue in recent years, due to the potential threats they pose to both the environment and human health. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), antibiotics, and hormones that are used for health and cosmetic purposes have rapidly culminated in the emergence of environmental pollutants. Originating from animal or human sources, either directly discharged into waterbodies or slowly leached via soils, EPs impact the environment in a variety of ways. As a result, water quality will deteriorate, drinking water sources will be contaminated, and health issues will arise. As drinking water treatment plants rely on water resources, the prevalence of this contamination in aquatic environments, particularly surface water, is a severe problem.

This review examines several issues related to EPs in water environments, including methods in removing EPs. Despite its benefits and downsides, the EPs treatment processes comprise several approaches such as physico-chemical, biological, and advanced oxidation processes. Nonetheless, one of the membrane-based filtration methods, ultrafiltration, is considered as one of the technologies that promises the best micropollutant removal in water. With interesting properties including a moderate operating manner and great selectivity, this treatment approach is more popular than conventional ones. This study presents a comprehensive summary of EPs existence in the environment, the toxicological consequences on health, and potential removal and treatment strategies.

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