Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 3616–3628 | Cite as

Endocrine disruptors compounds, pharmaceuticals and personal care products in urban wastewater: implications for agricultural reuse and their removal by adsorption process

Wastewater Reuse Applications and Contaminants of Emerging Concern (WRA & CEC 2012)


In the last years, a lot of emerging contaminants, such as, endocrine disruptors compounds (EDCs), pharmaceuticals, and personal care products (PPCPs) have been detected in wastewater. Because of their toxicity and possible adverse effects on the environment and humans, their release from urban wastewater treatment plants (UWWTPs) effluents should be minimized, particularly when a wastewater reuse for crops irrigation is expected. Many processes have been investigated for advanced treatment of UWWTP effluents as well as for emerging contaminant degradation; among these, adsorption process was successfully used to remove EDCs and PPCPs from wastewater. This article shortly reviews EDCs and PPCPs removal from UWWTP effluents by adsorption process using conventional and non-conventional adsorbents. The fate of EDCs and PPCPs in UWWTPs and the implications for agricultural wastewater reuse has been addressed too. In spite of the adsorption process looking to be a valuable alternative to other advanced technologies for the removal of emerging contaminants from wastewater, some gaps still remain to evaluate the actual feasibility at full scale. However, according to a few studies available in scientific literature on the use of both powdered activated carbon and granular activated carbon at full scale, adsorption process by activated carbon is a promising, potentially effective, and economically feasible solution for producing safe wastewater for agricultural reuse.


Activated carbon Low cost adsorbents Toxicity Urban wastewater Wastewater reuse 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of SalernoFiscianoItaly

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