Analysis and Fate of Emerging Contaminants in Water, Soil, Plants and other Biota
Conveners: Conveners: Yolanda Picó and Damià Barceló
Occurrence of emerging contaminants (ECs) in the environment could be related to the rise of anthropic pressure on water resources together with changes in the Earth system (from climate to ecosystems) as well as to the actual practices to manage these situation, such as the use of wastewater for irrigation (arid regions) and application of biosolids on soils. Wastewater effluent disposal, sludges, biosolids and/or biochars are today’s main sources of non-regulated trace of ECs to the environment. Release of effluents to the aquatic ecosystems is also a way to expose aquatic organisms. These compounds include, but are not restricted to, the following: human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, personal care products (PCPs), artificial sweeteners, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), pesticides, PAH-derivatives, benzotriazoles, benzothiazoles, plasticizers, surfactants, disinfection by products and engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). The presence of these chemicals in the environment is concerning because (i) they appear as complex mixtures leading to unwanted synergistic effects; (ii) there is little knowledge on their distribution and accumulation from wastewater/sludge into soil/plant; (iii) their hazards when applied to agricultural crops; and (iv) the lack of well-established knowledge on their potential accumulation and effects to the aquatic biota. This situation is aggravated by global change and water scarcity, whose effects are unpredictable. In this context, the session emphasizes on ongoing studies on ECs sources and their incorporation, metabolization, accumulation and translocation into vegetables linking with the ecological effects they produce. Contributions on the following areas of new or expanding EC environmental impact knowledge will be welcome: i) wide screening of an extensive range of emerging contaminants including their transformation products and/or metabolites, ii) potential and shortcomings of high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to identify metabolites and transformation products formed in the environment, iii) how their intrinsic properties, such as environmental persistence, resistance to metabolism in organisms, and tendency to accumulate could contribute to their ubiquity in environmental media and induce concern for their toxic effects after prolonged exposure, iv) progresses in understanding their transport, transformations, and fate in environment, and v) proposes of approaches to support the decision-making process related to risk-management measures. Summarizing, this session aims at focus on the most understudied areas of EC research in wastewaters and the environment and devised priorities for the future water scarcity scenario in a multi-disciplinary forum.