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Chemosphere. 2006 Oct;65(3):390-9. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

Photocatalytic oxidation of triclosan.

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Department of Chemistry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China.


In the spring of 2003, there was an outbreak of the severe respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Hong Kong. Health concerns have thus triggered an increased and predominant use of various types of household cleansing agents such as triclosan (5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol). However, it has been reported recently that triclosan could be photochemically converted to toxic 2,8-dichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,8-Cl(2)DD) in the environment. It is therefore necessary to develop environmentally friendly methods for the treatment of triclosan. To this end, photocatalytic degradation of triclosan in aqueous solution was conducted using TiO(2) (Degussa P25) under irradiation of UV light (lambda < 365 nm). It was found that triclosan could be degraded by this approach. Hydrogen peroxide was added to enhance the degradation process, and the optimal initial hydrogen peroxide concentration for triclosan degradation was 0.005% (w/v). Product identification indicated that triclosan oxidation occurred at its phenol moiety and yielded quinone and hydroquinone intermediates. The formation of a dichlorophenol intermediate in triclosan degradation suggested bond-breaking of the ether linkage occurred during the process. Moreover, no chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin congener was detected. These findings confirm that the photocatalytic degradation of triclosan is an environmentally friendly process.

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