The photodegradation of the endocrine disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) under UVA irradiation in the presence of Fe(III) or Fe(III)-polycarboxylate systems was studied. The effect of Fe(III) concentration, aqueous pH and the presence of four carboxylic acids (oxalic, malic, tartaric and citric) were investigated. The Fe(III)/UVA system was able to effectively degrade BPA at pH 3 but failed at pH > 4. At any rate, no mineralization of BPA was achieved with the Fe(III)/UVA system. The presence of carboxylic acids greatly enhanced the BPA degradation rate because of the formation of photoactive Fe(III)-polycarboxylate complexes. Aqueous pH in the 3–7 range exerted a negative effect on the BPA degradation rate and TOC conversion in the presence of oxalic, malic and tartaric acids. Only slight effect of pH was observed in the presence of citric acid, being the BPA degradation rate significant even at pH 7.
Keywords: Bisphenol A, Fe(III), photocatalysis, polycarboxylates, UVA radiation