Chemical and photochemical degradation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in liquid systems - A review.
Nanoscale zerovalent iron, n-ZVI, was found to be highly effective in reductively debrominating decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE209) at ambient conditions and without the catalysis of noble metals. A method was developed to immobilize n-ZVI particles on a cation-exchange resin. The n-ZVI coated resin was then mixed with BDE209 in a water/ acetone (1:1) solution, and the reaction was allowed to proceed for up to 10 days. The first-order rate constant of BDE209 disappearance was estimated to be 0.28 - 0.04 h(-1). The debromination was found to be stepwise, and less-brominated congeners were produced with increasing reaction time. Dechlorination of decachlorobiphenyl (PCB209) was also investigated, but the reaction rate was much slower than the debromination of BDE209. Identification of the reaction products was highly challenging and was assisted by regression equations between experimental and reference gas chromatographic relative retention times, with confirmation by high-resolution mass spectrometry and reference to quantitative structure retention relationships. For randomly selected PBDE and PCB congeners, the net charges of individual atoms were calculated using the quantum chemical computation to explore the difference in relative vulnerability of halogens at different substitution positions between PBDEs and PCBs.