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Is Ionizing Radiation Effective In Removing Pharmaceuticals From Wastewater?

F. K. Tominaga, T. T. Silva, N. F. Boiani, Juliana Mendonça Silva de Jesus, A. C. S. Teixeira, S. I. Borrely
Published 2021 · Medicine

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Wastewater and effluent discharges are the main causes of receiving water body pollution and important challenges in water quality management. Among the emerging contaminants, pharmaceuticals have increasingly drawn attention due to their incomplete removal during conventional biological treatment, inducing potential and actual risks to living organisms following residue discharges in river effluent. Electron beam irradiation (EBI) is a clean process technology for organic compound degradation and mineralization, as well as persistent pollutant detoxification. This study aimed to evaluate EBI effects on the degradation and toxicity removal of anti-inflammatory aspirin (ASA) in a single solution and in a fluoxetine (FLX) mixture. Results indicate that 98% of the single aspirin was degraded at 5.0 kGy. Aspirin toxicity to Daphnia similis , however, increased with increasing absorbed dose (1.0 to 5.0 kGy), possibly as a result of the presence of H 2 O 2 and other byproducts formed during the oxidation process. Regarding the irradiated mixture, complete degradation was achieved for both pharmaceuticals. Toxicity removals for the mixture were of 56.2 ± 0.9% and 58.8 ± 5.4% for 1.0 and 2.5 kGy, respectively. These findings demonstrate that EBI can be an interesting alternative process to be applied as a pre-treatment followed by biological treatment.
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