Sorption of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) from water and wastewater by carbonaceous materials: A review

Ming Zhang, Jialing Shen, Yuchi Zhong, Tao Ding, Pavani Dulanja Dissanayake, Yi Yang, Yiu Fai Tsang, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) are a group of emerging contaminants frequently detected in water and wastewater. Conventional water treatment processes are not specifically designed for PPCP removal. Thus, advanced materials and technologies are required to eliminate PPCPs to ensure water safety. This review provides an overview of carbonaceous materials (CMs) applied as sorbents for PPCP removal. The sorption of PPCPs by CMs occurs through adhesion, in which, the surface and pores of CMs provide space for PPCP loading and interactions between functional groups on CMs and the chemical structures of PPCPs provide the binding force. Competition between solutes and PPCPs for the sorption sites alter sorption capability of CMs toward PPCPs. Besides, ambient conditions including temperature and pH, significantly influence the sorption behaviors of PPCPs by CMs. The progresses in CM production and the regeneration of spent CMs enables to reduce the treatment cost. This review provides insights into the microcosmic interactions between PPCPs and CMs for the successful implementation of CMs in water and wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-766
Number of pages40
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Carbonaceous materials
  • pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs)
  • sorption
  • water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Sorption of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) from water and wastewater by carbonaceous materials: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this