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Environ Sci Technol. 2002 Aug 15;36(16):3482-9.

Phototransfomation of ticlosan in surface waters: a relevant elimination process for this widely used biocide--laboratory studies, field measurements, and modeling.

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Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG), Dübendorf.


The phototransformation of the widely used biocide triclosan (5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol) was quantified for surface waters using artificial UV light and sunlight irradiation. The pH of surface waters, commonly ranging from 7 to 9, determines the speciation of triclosan (pKa = 8.1) and therefore its absorption of sunlight. Direct phototransformation of the anionic form with a quantum yield of 0.31 (laboratory conditions at 313 nm) was identified as the dominant photochemical degradation pathway of triclosan. Combining the photochemical parameters with actual meteorological data and field measurements allowed us to validate a model describing the behavior of triclosan in the water column of a Swiss lake (Lake Greifensee). From August to October 1999, direct phototransformation accounted for 80% of the observed total elimination of triclosan from the lake. The remaining major sink for triclosan was the loss in the outflow. Thus, during the summer season, direct phototransformation appears to be a major elimination pathway of triclosan in this lake. Based on absorption spectra and quantum yield data, the phototransformation half-lives of triclosan were calculated under various environmental conditions typical for surface waters. Daily averaged half-lives were found to vary from about 2 to 2000 days, depending on latitude and time of year.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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