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Home > Press > Breaking down BPA and similar pollutants with sunlight, nanoparticles and graphene

BPA from plastic bottles and other products can degrade with the help of special nanoparticles and sunlight.
Credit: monticello/iStock/Thinkstock
BPA from plastic bottles and other products can degrade with the help of special nanoparticles and sunlight.

Credit: monticello/iStock/Thinkstock

Abstract:
Many pollutants with the potential to meddle with hormones — with bisphenol A (BPA) as a prime example — are already common in the environment. In an effort to clean up these pollutants found in the soil and waterways, scientists are now reporting a novel way to break them down by recruiting help from nanoparticles and light. The study appears in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Breaking down BPA and similar pollutants with sunlight, nanoparticles and graphene

Washington, DC | Posted on November 5th, 2014

Nikhil R. Jana and Susanta Kumar Bhunia explain that the class of pollutants known as endocrine disruptors has been shown to either mimic or block hormones in animals, including humans. That interference can cause reproductive and other health problems. The compounds are used to make many household and industrial products, and have been detected in soil, water and even human breast milk. Scientists have been working on ways to harness sunlight to break down endocrine disruptors to make them less of a health threat. But the approaches so far only work with ultraviolet light, which at a mere 6 percent of sunlight, means these methods are not very efficient. Jana and Bhunia wanted to find a simple way to take advantage of visible light, which comprises 52 percent of sunlight.

For inspiration, the researchers turned to an already-developed graphene composite that uses visible light to degrade dyes. They tweaked the composite and loaded it with silver nanoparticles that serve as an antenna for visible light. When they tested it, the new material successfully degraded three different kinds of endocrine disruptors: phenol, BPA and atrazine. They conclude that their composite is a promising way to harness visible light to break down these potentially harmful compounds and other organic pollutants.

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About American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Michael Bernstein

202-872-6042

Nikhil R. Jana, Ph.D.
Centre for Advanced Materials
Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science
Kolkata-700032
India
Phone: +91-33-24734971

Copyright © American Chemical Society

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