Pharmaceuticals have been present in our world’s waters since humans began experimenting with medicines; however, product propagation and ready access to pharmaceuticals coupled with burgeoning human population have significantly increased the loading of these compounds into the environment. Pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) are considered to produce a biological activity on humans and animals. Drugs manufacturing processes lead to release of toxic organic compounds and their metabolites into the environment. Safety and toxicology studies have used to investigate the side effects of pharmaceuticals on human and animal health. Treatment processes can and do reduce the concentrations of pharmaceuticals in water, however, the degree of efficacy is often a function of chemical structure, cost, and energy. All treatment processes have some degree of side effects, such as generation of residuals or by-products. This paper provides a concise report on removal of PhACs by recent advances oxidation processes (AOPs) where hydroxyl radicals (HO . ) acts as a common oxidant and the improvement of biodegradability to a level amicable for subsequent biological treatment.
Part of the book: Environmental Issues and Sustainable Development