Legacy and emerging pollutants in Latin America: A critical review of occurrence and levels in environmental and food samples


The increase and indiscriminate use of personal care products, food products, fertilizers, pesticides, and health products, among others, have resulted/are resulting in extensive environmental contamination. Most of these products contain traces of widespread chemicals, usually known as emerging pollutants (EPs) or pollutants of emerging concern (PEC). The Latin American (LA) region comprises 20 countries with different social and cultural aspects, with 81 % of the population living in urban areas. The LA region has some countries on the top list of users/consumers of EPs, from pesticides and fertilizers to personal care products. However, there is a gap in information related to the distribution of EPs in the environment of this region, with very few existing review texts exploring this issue. Therefore, this present paper advances this approach. An exhaustive literature review, with the selection of 176 documents, provided unique up-to-date information on the presence/distribution of 17 classes of legacy or emerging pollutants in different food and environmental matrices (soil, sediment, water, and air). The study shows that the wide distribution and recorded levels of these pollutants in the continental environment are potential risks to human health, mainly through food and drinking water ingestion. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are pollutants of deep public concern since they show carcinogenic properties. Several classes of pollutants, like endocrine disruptors, have caused harmful effects on humans and the environment. Besides that, pharmaceutical products and pesticides are compounds of high consumption worldwide, being environmental contamination a real and ongoing possibility. Finally, gaps and future research needs are deeply pointed out.

Authors: Marília Cristina Oliveira Souza, Bruno Alves Rocha, Joseph A Adeyemi, Martí Nadal, José Luis Domingo, Fernando Barbosa Jr
; Full Source: The Science of the total environment 2022 Aug 3;157774. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.157774.