Free-radical chemistry of disinfection byproducts. 3. Degradation mechanisms of chloronitromethane, bromonitromethane, and dichloronitromethane

J Phys Chem A. 2010 Jan 14;114(1):117-25. doi: 10.1021/jp907305g.


Halonitromethanes (HNMs) are byproducts formed through ozonation and chlorine/ chloramine disinfection processes in drinking waters that contain dissolved organic matter and bromide ions. These species occur at low concentration but have been determined to have high cytotoxicity and mutagenicity and therefore may represent a human health hazard. In this study, we have investigated the chemistry involved in the mineralization of HNMs to nonhazardous inorganic products through the application of advanced oxidation and reduction processes. We have combined measured absolute reaction rate constants for the reactions of chloronitromethane, bromonitromethane, and dichloronitromethane with the hydroxyl radical and the hydrated electron with a kinetic computer model in an attempt to elucidate the reaction pathways of these HNMs. The results are compared to measurements of stable products resulting from steady-state (60)Co gamma-irradiations of the same compounds. The model predicted the decomposition of the parent compounds and ingrowth of chloride and bromide ions with excellent accuracy, but the prediction of the total nitrate ion concentration was slightly in error, reflecting the complexity of nitrogen oxide species reactions in irradiated solution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Disinfectants / chemistry*
  • Ethane / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ethane / chemistry
  • Free Radicals / chemistry*
  • Kinetics
  • Methane / analogs & derivatives*
  • Methane / chemistry
  • Nitro Compounds / chemistry*
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Disinfectants
  • Free Radicals
  • Nitro Compounds
  • chloronitromethane
  • dichloronitromethane
  • bromonitromethane
  • Ethane
  • Methane