Aquatic and terrestrial environment and human health have been seriously threatened with the release of metal-containing wastewater by the rapid growth in the industry. There are various methods which have been used for removal of ions from the environment, such as membrane filtration, ion exchange, membrane assisted liquid extraction and adsorption. As a sort of special innovation, a polymerization technique, namely molecular imprinting is carried out by specific identification for the target by mixing it with a functional monomer. After the polymerization occurred, the target ion can be removed with suitable methods. At the end of this process, specific cavities, namely binding sites, are able to recognize target ions selectively. However, the selectivity of the molecularly imprinted polymer is variable not only because of the type of ligand but also charge, size coordination number, and geometry of the target ion. In this review, metal ion-imprinted polymeric materials that can be applied for metal ion removal from different sources are discussed and exemplified briefly with different metal ions.
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