Phenols, flame retardants and phthalates in water and wastewater – a global problem

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Organic pollutants in water and wastewater have been causing serious environmental problems. The arbitrary discharge of wastewater by industries, and handling, use, and disposal constitute a means by which phenols, flame retardants (FRs), phthalates (PAEs) and other toxic organic pollutants enter the ecosystem. Moreover, these organic pollutants are not completely removed during treatment processes and might be degraded into highly toxic derivatives, which has led to their occurrence in the environment. Phenols, FRs and PAEs are thus highly toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic, and are capable of disrupting the endocrine system. Therefore, investigation to understand the sources, pathways, behavior, toxicity and exposure to phenols, FRs and PAEs in the environment is necessary. Formation of different by-products makes it difficult to compare the efficacy of the treatment processes, most especially when other organic matters are present. Hence, high levels of phenols, FRs and PAEs removal could be attained with in-line combined treatment processes.

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