We present a simplified status description of the prevalence and occurrences of organic micropollutants including endocrine disruptive chemicals (EDCs), therapeutic drugs, hormones, fragrances and ultraviolet (UV) filters in the wastewaters and the adjacent coastal oceans in the Northern and Southern Antarctica. Different treatment technologies adopted in the research stations and their efficacy in removing pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are reviewed. Till date, 56 PPCPs are reported in the wastewaters of Antarctic research stations, and 23 in the adjacent coastal waters and sea ice. The reported concentrations in the wastewaters are at the levels of μg L−1 for UV filters, plasticizer Bisphenol A, metabolites, antibiotics, alkyl phenolic compounds, and stimulants. Concentrations in the coastal waters and sea ice are two orders of magnitude lower than the wastewaters because of dilution and degradation. It is apparent however, that the PPCP-laden effluents discharged from the research stations contaminate them. If left unchecked, pollution of the coastal waters and sea-ice can lead to toxic levels. Through this review, we have established widespread occurrence of PPCPs in the polar coastal oceans; this study will also provide the status quo for the researchers and policymakers to seriously consider the issue and initiate remedial action in the near future. The existing substantial gaps in understanding of the impact of PPCPs on the flora and fauna of Antarctica, and the ineffectiveness of the current treatment technologies adopted by the research stations are highly evident. Future-oriented polar research should focus on protecting the pristine ecosystem by utilizing climate-sensitive, cost-effective treatment technologies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Environmental Science