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Formation of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs) in the electrochemical oxidation of polluted waters with pharmaceuticals used against COVID-19

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a huge impact on our lives, increasing the consumption of certain pharmaceuticals, and with this, contributing to the intensification of their presence in wastewater and in the environment. This situation demands the implementation of efficient remediation technologies, among them, electrochemical oxidation (ELOX) is one the most applied. This work studies the application of ELOX with the aim of eliminate pharmaceuticals used in the fight against COVID-19, assessing its degradation rate, as well as the risk of formation of toxic trace by-products, such as unintentional POPs like polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs). To this end, model solutions containing 10 mg L-1 of dexamethasone (DEX), paracetamol (PAR), amoxicillin (AMX), and sertraline (STR) with two different electrolytes (NaCl and Na2SO4) have been evaluated. However, electrochemical systems that contain chloride ions in solution together with PCDD/Fs precursor molecules may lead to the formation of these highly toxic by-products. So, PCDD/Fs were quantified under conditions of complete degradation of the drugs. Furthermore, the presence of PCDD/Fs precursors such as chlorophenols was determined, as well as the role of Cl-, Cl- and radicals in the formation of the by-products and PCDD/Fs. The maximum measured concentration of PCDD/Fs was around 2700-pg-L-1 for the amoxicillin case in NaCl medium. The obtained results emphasise the importance of not underestimating the potential formation of these highly toxic trace by-products, in addition to the correct selection of oxidation processes and operation variables, in order to avoid final higher toxicity in the medium.

 Autoría: Schröder S., Ortiz I., San-Román M.F.,

 Fuente: Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 2023, 11(2), 109305

 Editorial: Elsevier

 Fecha de publicación: 18/01/2023

 Nº de páginas: 14

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.jece.2023.109305

 ISSN: 2213-3437,2213-2929

 Proyecto español: PID2020-115409RB-I00

 Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jece.2023.109305