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Analytical tools employed to determine pharmaceutical compounds in wastewaters after application of advanced oxidation processes

Afonso-Olivares, Cristina, Montesdeoca-Esponda, Sarah, Sosa-Ferrera, Zoraida, Santana-Rodríguez, José Juan
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.24 pp. 24476-24494
byproducts, detectors, drugs, hormones, laws and regulations, mass spectrometry, oxidation, personal care products, photochemistry, pollutants, society, wastewater, wastewater treatment
Today, the presence of contaminants in the environment is a topic of interest for society in general and for the scientific community in particular. A very large amount of different chemical substances reaches the environment after passing through wastewater treatment plants without being eliminated. This is due to the inefficiency of conventional removal processes and the lack of government regulations. The list of compounds entering treatment plants is gradually becoming longer and more varied because most of these compounds come from pharmaceuticals, hormones or personal care products, which are increasingly used by modern society. As a result of this increase in compound variety, to address these emerging pollutants, the development of new and more efficient removal technologies is needed. Different advanced oxidation processes (AOPs), especially photochemical AOPs, have been proposed as supplements to traditional treatments for the elimination of pollutants, showing significant advantages over the use of conventional methods alone. This work aims to review the analytical methodologies employed for the analysis of pharmaceutical compounds from wastewater in studies in which advanced oxidation processes are applied. Due to the low concentrations of these substances in wastewater, mass spectrometry detectors are usually chosen to meet the low detection limits and identification power required. Specifically, time-of-flight detectors are required to analyse the by-products.