Unexpected toxicity to aquatic organisms of some aqueous bisphenol A samples treated by advanced oxidation processes

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In this study, photocatalytic and catalytic wet-air oxidation (CWAO) processes were used to examine removal efficiency of bisphenol A from aqueous samples over several titanate nanotube-based catalysts. Unexpected toxicity of bisphenol A (BPA) samples treated by means of the CWAO process to some tested species was determined. In addition, the CWAO effluent was recycled five- or 10-fold in order to increase the number of interactions between the liquid phase and catalyst. Consequently, the inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis indicated higher concentrations of some toxic metals like chromium, nickel, molybdenum, silver, and zinc in the recycled samples in comparison to both the single-pass sample and the photocatalytically treated solution. The highest toxicity of five- and 10-fold recycled solutions in the CWAO process was observed in water fleas, which could be correlated to high concentrations of chromium, nickel, and silver detected in tested samples. The obtained results clearly demonstrated that aqueous samples treated by means of advanced oxidation processes should always be analyzed using (i) chemical analyses to assess removal of BPA and total organic carbon from treated aqueous samples, as well as (ii) a battery of aquatic organisms from different taxonomic groups to determine possible toxicity.

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