Activated carbon for pharmaceutical removal at point-of-entry

Michelle Finn, Gabrielle Giampietro, David Mazyck, Regina Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Pharmaceuticals are an increasing problem in waterways due to improper disposal and lack of removal at wastewater treatment plants. Long-term exposure impacts to humans are unknown but have been observed in model organisms (i.e., fish), impacting reproduction, changing temperament, and causing organ damage. The application of activated carbon (AC) for organic contaminant removal is widespread and applied successfully for water treatment. The objective of this study is to rapidly adsorb ibuprofen using AC to determine the feasibility as a point-of-entry treatment option for removal of pharmaceuticals in the toilet. AC factors analyzed include type of AC raw material, adsorbent particle size, contact time, and competitive adsorption of ibuprofen and common toilet bowl cleaner components such as chlorine and methylene blue dye. A coconut-based AC with a high surface area adsorbed the highest quantity of ibuprofen. There was no significant impact to ibuprofen adsorption upon the introduction of other compounds to the solution, thus demonstrating rapid adsorption and the potential for application at the point-of-entry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1091
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Activated carbon for pharmaceutical removal at point-of-entry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this