Currently, water pollution by emerging contaminants has become a major source of concern and a priority for society and public authorities. Emerging contaminants are a group of natural and synthetic chemicals and biological agents that are not routinely monitored or regulated in the environment and may have known or suspected adverse effects on the environment and human health. The list of these substances is particularly long and includes pharmaceuticals, personal care products and cosmetics, pesticides, surfactants, industrial products and additives, nanoparticles and nanomaterials, and pathogens. Many of them are used and released continuously into the environment, even at very low concentrations, and some can cause chronic toxicity, endocrine disruption in humans and aquatic life, and the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is therefore necessary to mobilize efforts to protect human health and biodiversity.
The objective of this chapter is to present the recent state of knowledge on the advanced treatments proposed for the removal of emerging contaminants in wastewater when they are present in trace amounts in wastewater. After general considerations on wastewater treatment plant, the first part is focused on adsorption-oriented processes using conventional (activated carbon, clays) or non-conventional (cyclodextrin polymers, metal-organic frameworks, molecularly imprinted polymers, chitosan, nanocellulose) adsorbents. Biosorbents such as cyclodextrin bead polymers have great potential in environmental applications although they are still at the laboratory study stage.
Nadia Morin-Crini, Eric Lichtfouse, Marc Fourmentin, Ana Rita Lado Ribeiro, Constantinos Noutsopoulos, Francesca Mapelli, Éva Fenyvesi, Melissa Gurgel Adeodato Vieira, Lorenzo A. Picos-Corrales, Juan Carlos Moreno-Piraján, Liliana Giraldo, Tamás Sohajda, Mohammad Mahmudul Huq, Jafar Soltan, Giangiacomo Torri, Monica Magureanu, Corina Bradu, and Grégorio Crini: Emerging contaminants. Chapter 1, In: Morin-Crini, Nadia, Lichtfouse, Eric, Crini, Grégorio (Eds.) Emerging Contaminants Vol. 2 Remediation. Springer (2021)