Overlooked environmental risks deriving from aqueous transformation of bisphenol alternatives: Integration of chemical and toxicological insights

J Hazard Mater. 2022 Jan 4;427:128208. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.128208. Online ahead of print.


Owing to the widespread prevalence and ecotoxicity of bisphenol alternatives such as bisphenol S, bisphenol F, and bisphenol AF, the past decade has witnessed the publication of a remarkable number of studies related to their transformation and remediation in natural waters. However, the reactivity, removal efficiency, transformation products (TPs), and mechanisms of such emerging pollutants by different treatment processes have not been well elucidated. Particularly, the transformation-driven environmental risks have been mostly overlooked. Therefore, we present a review to address these issues from chemical and toxicological viewpoints. Four degradation systems can be largely classified as catalytic persulfate (PS) oxidation, non-catalytic oxidation, photolysis and photocatalysis, and biodegradation. It was found that bisphenol alternatives possess distinct reactivities with different oxidizing species, with the highest performance for hydroxyl radicals. All systems exhibit superior elimination efficiency for these compounds. The inadequate mineralization suggests the formation of recalcitrant TPs, from which the overall reaction pathways are proposed. The combined experimental and in silico analysis indicates that many TPs have developmental toxicity, endocrine-disrupting effects, and genotoxicity. Notably, catalytic PS systems and non-catalytic oxidation result in the formation of coupling products as well as halogenated TPs with higher acute and chronic toxicity and lower biodegradability than the parent compounds. In contrast, photolysis and photocatalysis generate hydroxylated and bond-cleavage TPs with less toxicity. Overall, this review highlights the secondary environmental risks from the transformation of bisphenol alternatives by conventional and emerging treatment processes. Finally, future perspectives are recommended to address the knowledge gaps of these contaminants in aquatic ecosystems.

Keywords: Alternatives; Biodegradability; Bisphenol; Chemical reactivity; Secondary environmental risks; Transformation mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Review