Pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) are a class of compounds of emerging concern, corresponding in most cases to unregulated contaminants that have recently been detected in water streams worldwide. PPCPs encompass compounds of great consumption, such as over-the-counter medication and many disinfectants that are continuously introduced into the aquatic environment. Amongst Advanced Oxidation Processes, heterogeneous photocatalysis is one of the most promising technologies for the degradation of these compounds in wastewater treatment plants. Carbon materials have been successfully used as supports of photoactive species, and TiO2/carbon composites have shown quite high efficiencies for the photodegradation of a variety of pollutants. Most of the studies on photocatalysis do not encompass an ecotoxicity evaluation, being more focused on the degradation efficiency and mineralization of the pollutants. Given the usual increase of ecotoxicity accompanying the early stages of oxidation treatments, an assessment of the effluent ecotoxicity is therefore essential. Nevertheless, data on the ecotoxicity of treated effluents after photocatalytic reactions is still scarce. In this context, the aim of the present work is to screen the photocatalytic degradation of ibuprofen (IBU) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) and mixtures of these compounds (IBU/SMX) using TiO2/carbon composites as catalysts. The results are interpreted in terms of the compounds mineralization and ecotoxicity levels of the initial and final effluents, focusing on the role of the carbon component on the photocatalytic degradation.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2014|