Nanofiltration and ultrafiltration of endocrine disrupting compounds, pharmaceuticals and personal care products

Yeomin Yoon, Paul Westerhoff, Shane A. Snyder, Eric C. Wert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

429 Scopus citations


Reports of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have raised substantial concern among important potable drinking water and reclaimed wastewater quality issues. Our study investigates the removal of EDC/PPCPs of 52 compounds having different physico-chemical properties (e.g., size, hydrophobicity, and polarity) by nanofiltration (NF) and ultrafiltration (UF) membranes using a dead-end stirred-cell filtration system. EDC/PPCPs were applied to the membrane in one model water and three natural waters. Experiments were performed at environmentally relevant initial EDC/PPCP concentrations ranging typically from 2 to <250 ng/L. EDC/PPCP retention was quantified by liquid and gas chromatography with mass spectroscopy-mass spectroscopy. A general separation trend due to hydrophobic adsorption as a function of octanol-water partition coefficient was observed between the hydrophobic compounds and porous hydrophobic membrane during the membrane filtration in unequilibrium conditions. The results showed that the NF membrane retained many EDC/PPCPs due to both hydrophobic adsorption and size exclusion, while the UF membrane retained typically hydrophobic EDC/PPCPs due mainly to hydrophobic adsorption. However, the transport phenomenon associated with adsorption may depend on water chemistry conditions and membrane material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-100
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2006


  • Endocrine disrupting compounds
  • Nanofiltration
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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