Potentially Toxic Elements in Pharmaceutical Industrial Effluents: A Review on Risk Assessment, Treatment, and Management for Human Health

Hussein K. Okoro, Muyiwa M. Orosun, Faith A. Oriade, Tawakalit M. Momoh-Salami, Clement O. Ogunkunle, Adewale G. Adeniyi, Caliphs Zvinowanda, Jane C. Ngila

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Potentially toxic elements (PTEs) are metallic chemicals with densities that are higher than that of water. Water pollution by PTEs due to the discharge of untreated pharmaceutical industrial effluents is a risk to human health and ecological integrity. The present review paper provides an overview of the threats to human health due to water contamination by PTEs such as lead, cobalt, cadmium, nickel, and arsenic originating from pharmaceutical industrial wastewater. This review reveals the associated advantages and shortcomings of the outmoded and the modern methods and the challenges involved in addressing the shortcomings. Additionally, due to the increasing amount of uncontrollable pharmaceutical effluents entering the ecosystem, this paper reviewed the management approach supported by the World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency. Studies revealed that PTEs find their way into human bodies through different pathways, which include drinking water, edibles, and dermal vulnerability at intervals. This paper focuses on how pharmaceutical effluents can be handled and how regulations and strategies can be reinforced step by step. To preserve public health and the environment, a comprehensive study on the environmental evaluation of carcinogenic substances, particularly toxic elements and metalloids, should be supported and advocated. To protect living organisms and the welfare of consumers, efforts should be made to reduce the presence of potentially hazardous elements on land and water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6974
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • advance treatment
  • health risk assessment
  • pathways
  • pharmaceutical effluents
  • potential toxic elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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