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Emerging Freshwater Pollutants
2022, 309-329

Rare earth elements and radionuclides

Juliana A. Galhardi, Karen Luko-Sulato, Lauren N.M. Yabuki, Leandro M. Santos, Ygor J.A.B. da Silva, Yuri J.A.B. da Silva

Abstract

Rare earth elements (REE) and radionuclides evaluation in freshwater are important for assessing the extent of human exposure to these emerging contaminants. In addition to their natural occurrence in waters, anthropogenic activities contribute significantly to increase the exposition dose to these contaminants. Studies examining REE and radionuclides levels in natural waters take place mostly in temperate and developed countries, where the use of natural resources and climatic conditions differ significantly from those of tropical and developing areas. Current gaps in the mechanisms controlling the availability of REE and radionuclides to aquatic organisms in tropical regions require further attention. In this chapter, the main factors controlling the occurrence of REE and radionuclides in aquatic ecosystems are discussed, including their geochemistry and effects on aquatic organisms, providing useful information for water management programs and risk assessment models. Technologies for the removal of radionuclides and REE from waters and wastewaters and potential reuse are also discussed, considering the development of greener processes toward the sustainability of aquatic resources.

Keywords: Rare earth elements, Radionuclides, Emerging contaminants, Tropical waters, Hydrochemistry, Remediation.

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