Biodegradable polymers and their nano-composites for the removal of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from wastewater: a review

Biodegradable polymers and their nano-composites for the removal of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from wastewater: a review



Wastewater treatment
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals
Biodegradable polymers
Adsorption process


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) target the endocrine system by interfering with the natural hormones in the body leading to adverse effects on human and animal health. These chemicals have been identified as major polluting agents in wastewater effluents. Pharmaceuticals, personal care products, industrial compounds, pesticides, dyes, and heavy metals are examples of substances that could be considered endocrine active chemicals. In humans, these chemicals could cause obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, reproductive abnormalities, and thyroid problems. While in wildlife, dysfunctional gene expression could lead to the feminization of some aquatic organisms, metabolic diseases, cardiovascular risk, and problems in the reproductive system as well as its levels of hatchability and vitellogenin. EDCs could be effectively removed from wastewater using advanced technologies such as reverse osmosis, membrane treatment, ozonation, advanced oxidation, filtration, and biodegradation. However, adsorption has been proposed as a more promising and sustainable method for water treatment than any other reported technique. Increased attention has been paid to biodegradable polymers and their nano-composites as promising adsorbents for the removal of EDCs from wastewater. These polymers could be either natural, synthetic, or a combination of both. This review presents a summary of the most relevant cases where natural and synthetic biodegradable polymers have been used for the successful removal of EDCs from wastewater. It demonstrates the effectiveness of these polymers as favorable adsorbents for novel wastewater treatment technologies. Hitherto, very limited work has been published on the use of both natural and synthetic biodegradable polymers to remove EDCs from wastewater, as most of the studies focused on the utilization of only one type, either natural or synthetic. Therefore, this review could pave the way for future exploration of biodegradable polymers as promising and sustainable adsorbents for the removal of various types of pollutants from wastewater.

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