Processes and environmental impacts of organic contaminants

Organic contaminants, such as pesticides, plastics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), perfluorinated and polyfluorinated compounds (PFASs) and tire particles, have a variety of processes and environmental impacts. Pesticides, used in agriculture to protect crops, can contaminate soil and water, affecting biodiversity and human health. Plastics, ubiquitous in our daily lives, degrade into microplastics, polluting the oceans, harming marine fauna and potentially entering the human food chain. PAHs, produced by the incomplete combustion of organic matter, are air pollutants that contribute to air pollution and can cause respiratory problems and cancer in humans. When tires break down, they release fine particles and chemicals into the air and soil, polluting the environment. PFAS, used in many industrial and consumer products, are persistent and bioaccumulative pollutants, contaminating groundwater and aquatic ecosystems, and posing risks to human health.

These organic contaminants undergo complex processes of emission, dispersion and transformation in the environment. They have adverse impacts on biodiversity, air, water and soil quality, as well as on human health. The use of theoretical chemistry tools combined with statistical thermodynamics and appropriate kinetic theories will provide a better understanding of their fate in the atmosphere, which can help develop emission reduction strategies, more efficient degradation methods and raise public awareness of the dangers associated with these contaminants, in order to protect our environment and our health in the long term.