The decomposition of persistent and bioaccumulative perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in water by UV - visible light irradiation, by H2O2 with UV - visible light irradiation, and by a tungstic heteropolyacid photocatalyst was examined to develop a technique to counteract stationary sources of PFOA. Direct photolysis proceeded slowly to produce CO2, F-, and short-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids. Compared to the direct photolysis, H2O2 was less effective in PFOA decomposition. On the other hand, the heteropolyacid photocatalyst led to efficient PFOA decomposition and the production of F- ions and CO2. The photocatalyst also suppressed the accumulation of short-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids in the reaction solution. PFOA in the concentrations of 0.34-3.35 mM, typical of those in wastewaters after an emulsifying process in fluoropolymer manufacture, was completely decomposed by the catalyst within 24 h of irradiation from a 200-W xenon - mercury lamp, with no accompanying catalyst degradation, permitting the catalyst to be reused in consecutive runs. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) measurements showed no trace of environmentally undesirable species such as CF4, which has a very high global-warming potential. When the (initial PFOA)/(initial catalyst) molar ratio was 10: 1, the turnover number for PFOA decomposition reached 4.33 over 24 h of irradiation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry