Removal of Heavy Metals from Wastewaters: A Challenge from Current Treatment Methods to Nanotechnology Applications

Toxics. 2020 Nov 10;8(4):101. doi: 10.3390/toxics8040101.


Removing heavy metals from wastewaters is a challenging process that requires constant attention and monitoring, as heavy metals are major wastewater pollutants that are not biodegradable and thus accumulate in the ecosystem. In addition, the persistent nature, toxicity and accumulation of heavy metal ions in the human body have become the driving force for searching new and more efficient water treatment technologies to reduce the concentration of heavy metal in waters. Because the conventional techniques will not be able to keep up with the growing demand for lower heavy metals levels in drinking water and wastewaters, it is becoming increasingly challenging to implement technologically advanced alternative water treatments. Nanotechnology offers a number of advantages compared to other methods. Nanomaterials are more efficient in terms of cost and volume, and many process mechanisms are better and faster at nanoscale. Although nanomaterials have already proved themselves in water technology, there are specific challenges related to their stability, toxicity and recovery, which led to innovations to counteract them. Taking into account the multidisciplinary research of water treatment for the removal of heavy metals, the present review provides an updated report on the main technologies and materials used for the removal of heavy metals with an emphasis on nanoscale materials and processes involved in the heavy metals removal and detection.

Keywords: detection; electrochemistry; heavy metals; nanomaterials; nanostructure array; nanotechnology; removal; template synthesis; toxics; wastewaters; water treatments.

Publication types

  • Review