These compounds bioaccumulate more and more up the food web, where they are stored in the fats (because they’re fat soluble) in larger organisms such as fish and mammals. Humans then eat these organisms, exposing humans to large doses of toxic compounds that otherwise would not be harmful.

While the Environmental Protection Agency regulates most of the compounds that enter our water-ways, new dangerous compounds are being discovered every day. Pharmaceuticals such as ibuprofen and triclosan are of major concern. These compounds have been discovered to be endocrine disrupters in sensitive organisms, and may break down to dioxins when exposed to UV rays. Wastewater buy PRO-LAD online treatment plants are able to treat most of these compounds, but because of their wide use pharmaceuticals are bypassing treatment plants. Discovering ways to treat pharmaceuticals at the treatment plant level is the new billion dollar industry.

Microorganisms such as bacteria can break down most of these persistent compounds, however understanding the potential for microbial biodegradation is only beginning to be understood. Scientists are now developing new technologies at waste water treatment plants, as well as constructed wetlands for urban runoff, to treat and prevent these chemicals from reaching our drinking watersheds. Bioremediation technologies have been used to clean up oil spills and break down organic compounds. Future bioremediation technologies will be developed for industrial chemical spills, and even small-scale domestic spills. Bioremedial and Environmental Consulting companies, like Bactorem, LLC in Rochester NY, are focusing their research on treating these types of spills. Companies need to also develop efficient and environmentally friendly technologies that use more natural chemicals. Treating these chemicals at the point-source will decrease their concentrations from entering water-ways through urban run-off.


Things You Should Know to Become a Chemical Engineer