Efficiency of advanced oxidation processes in lowering bisphenol A toxicity and oestrogenic activity in aqueous samples

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Bisphenol A (BPA) is a well-known endocrine disruptor with adverse oestrogen-like effects eliciting adverse effects in humans and wildlife. For this reason it is necessary to set up an efficient removal of BPA from wastewaters, before they are discharged into surface waters. The aim of this study was to compare the efficiency of BPA removal from aqueous samples with photolytic, photocatalytic, and UV/H2O2 oxidation. BPA solutions were illuminated with different bulbs (halogen; 17 W UV, 254 nm; and 150 W UV, 365 nm) with or without the TiO2 P-25 catalyst or H2O2 (to accelerate degradation). Acute toxicity and oestrogenic activity of treated samples were determined using luminescent bacteria (Vibrio fischeri), water fleas (Daphnia magna), zebrafish embryos (Danio rerio), and Yeast Estrogen Screen (YES) assay with genetically modified yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The results confirmed that BPA is toxic and oestrogenically active. Chemical analysis showed a reduction of BPA levels after photolytic treatment and 100 % conversion of BPA by photocatalytic and UV/H2O2 oxidation. The toxicity and oestrogenic activity of BPA were largely reduced in photolytically treated samples. Photocatalytic oxidation, however, either did not reduce BPA toxic and oestrogenic effects or even increased them in comparison with the baseline, untreated BPA solution. Our findings suggest that chemical analysis is not sufficient to determine the efficiency of advanced oxidation processes in removing pollutants from water and needs to be complemented with biological tests.

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