Comprehensive review of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in water sources, their effects and treatments

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Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2019, 696
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are principally derived from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. This study investigated the occurrence of PAHs in aquatic environments around the world, their effects on the environment and humans, and methods for their removal. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons have a great negative impact on the humans and environment, and can even cause cancer in humans. Use of good methods and equipment are essential to monitoring PAHs, and GC/MS and HPLC are usually used for their analysis in aqueous solutions. In aquatic environments, the PAHs concentrations range widely from 0.03 ng/L (seawater; Southeastern Japan Sea, Japan) to 8,310,000 ng/L (Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant, Siloam, South Africa). Moreover, bioaccumulation of ∑16PAHs in fish has been reported to range from 11.2 ng/L (Cynoscion guatucupa, South Africa) to 4207.5 ng/L (Saurida undosquamis, Egypt). Several biological, physical and chemical and biological techniques have been reported to treat water contaminated by PAHs, but adsorption and combined treatment methods have shown better removal performance, with some methods removing up to 99.99% of PAHs.
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