Chapter 10 Emerging Pollutants: Fate, Pathways, and Bioavailability

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Abdel-Mohsen Onsy Mohamed
Evan K. Paleologos

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

Fundamentals of Geoenvironmental Engineering

Publication Date



A number of new products, which include common personal-care products, prescription and nonprescription drugs, household items, as well as new-generation pesticides, surfactants, and industrial products contain nanomaterials (NMs) and/or microplastics. Nanoparticles (NPs) have a high surface area for their size, and thus, are likely to be very reactive, which are utilized in several applications such as their use as catalysts and antioxidants, and in remediation of polluted waters, and so on. However, these properties also make them potentially threatening for the environment and for the human health because they can pass through cell membranes, affect seed germination and growth, remain suspended in the air and travel long distances, pass and carry pollutants easily through small soil pores in the ground, and eventually can become available to ecosystems and humans. Because of the emergence of nanotechnology only recently, little is known about the behavior of NPs in the environment, the dominant physical and chemical factors that affect their movement, their toxicological effects once they enter a living organism, and so on. In addition, the expansion in the use of plastics has reached a stage where it is estimated that 60%–80% of the waste is in that form, polluting large areas of land and water, and entering the food chain. This chapter summarizes some of the recent scientific information on these emerging materials and highlights the potential and the threat that they pose.




J. Air Waste Manag. Assoc. 55 2005


Environmental Engineering

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access