In this chapter, phenol and chlorophenols are investigated in terms of their production histories, physiochemical properties, pollution resources, and removal methods. It is seen that both phenol and chlorophenols are highly toxic compounds, produced from natural and anthropogenic sources, which are hazardous to both humans and the environment even at very low concentrations. The typical industries which produce phenol and chlorophenol pollution are petrochemical, textile, plastics, resin, dye, pharmaceutical, iron and steel, pulp and paper industries as well as the petroleum refineries, and coal gasification operations. Phenol is a highly corrosive and nerve poisoning agent. It causes harmful health effects, such as sour mouth, diarrhea, and impaired vision. It is also toxic for the ecosystem with toxicity levels ranging between 10-24 mg/L for humans, 9-25 mg/l for fish, and lethal blood concentration around 150-mg/100 ml. Chlorophenols found in natural waters or drinking water also cause serious health problems such as histopathological alterations, genotoxicity, mutagenicity, and carcinogenicity among others. Due to the aforementioned reasons, the phenolic compounds in wastewaters or drinking water must be removed using a suitable wastewater treatment method such as adsorption, extraction, electrochemical oxidation, biodegradation, catalytic wet air oxidation, or enzyme treatment among others.
Part of the book: Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)