Persistent organic pollutants: The trade-off between potential risks and sustainable remediation methods

Daniela Negrete-Bolagay, Camilo Zamora-Ledezma, Cristina Chuya-Sumba, Frederico B. De Sousa, Daniel Whitehead, Frank Alexis, Victor H. Guerrero

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) have become a very serious issue for the environment because of their toxicity, resistance to conventional degradation mechanisms, and capacity to bioconcentrate, bioaccumulate and biomagnify. In this review article, the safety, regulatory, and remediation aspects of POPs including aromatic, chlorinated, pesticides, brominated, and fluorinated compounds, are discussed. Industrial and agricultural activities are identified as the main sources of these harmful chemicals, which are released to air, soil and water, impacting on social and economic development of society at a global scale. The main types of POPs are presented, illustrating their effects on wildlife and human beings, as well as the ways in which they contaminate the food chain. Some of the most promising and innovative technologies developed for the removal of POPs from water are discussed, contrasting their advantages and disadvantages with those of more conventional treatment processes. The promising methods presented in this work include bioremediation, advanced oxidation, ionizing radiation, and nanotechnology. Finally, some alternatives to define more efficient approaches to overcome the impacts that POPs cause in the hydric sources are pointed out. These alternatives include the formulation of policies, regulations and custom-made legislation for controlling the use of these pollutants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113737
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Contaminants
  • POPs
  • Pesticides
  • Policies
  • Remediation
  • Toxicity


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