Catalyst Offers Hope for Managing EDCs

Researchers report effectiveness of a powerful, environmentally friendly catalyst in destruction of various estrogens that escape complete removal in wastewater treatment plants. Their study is scheduled for the Feb. 15 issue of the American Chemical Society's Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

In the new study, Nancy W. Shappell and colleagues explain that endocrine disruptors, both natural hormones and hormone-like compounds, have been detected in the surface waters. Many of these endocrine disruptors have estrogenic activity.

To address this problem, the researchers tested a new catalyst called Fe-TAML or Fe-B*. In the presence of hydrogen peroxide, the catalyst quickly and effectively destroyed various forms of estrogens typically found in post-treatment wastewater, removing 95 percent of the chemicals — including Ethinylestradiol — in 15 minutes. Estrogenic activity was diminished to a similar extent. Further research will evaluate Fe-B*'s efficacy on actual wastewater, in addition to more extensive evaluation of byproduct toxicities. Usefulness in wastewater treatment could be doubly beneficial, as Fe-B* has been reported to destroy harmful bacterial spores.

The article, 'Destruction of estrogens using Fe-TAML/peroxide catalysis," can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es7022863.

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