In the present study, the sorption and biodegradation characteristics of five pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs), including acetaminophen (ACT), carbamazepine (CBZ), crotamiton (CTMT), diethyltoluamide (DEET) and salicylic acid (SA), were studied in laboratory-batch experiments. Sorption kinetics experimental data showed that sorption systems under this study were more appropriately described by the pseudo second-order kinetics with a correlation coefficient (R2) > 0.98. Sorption equilibrium data of almost all target compounds onto soil could be better described by the Freundlich sorption isotherm model. The adsorption results showed higher soil affinity for SA, following by ACT. Results also indicated a slight effect of pH on PPCP adsorption with lower pH causing lower adsorption of compounds onto the soil except for SA at pH 12. Moreover, adsorption of PPCPs onto the soil was influenced by natural organic matter (NOM) since the higher amount of NOM caused lower adsorption to the soil. Biodegradation studies of selected PPCPs by indigenous microbial community present in soil appeared that the removal rates of ACT, SA and DEET increased with time while no effect had been observed for the rest. This study suggests that the CBZ and CTMT can be considered as suitable chemical sewage indicators based on their low sorption affinity and high resistance to biodegradation.

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