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Formation of toxic species and precursors of PCDD/F in thermal decomposition of alpha-cypermethrin

Summoogum, S.L., Mackie, J.C., Kennedy, E.M., Delichatsios, M.A. and Dlugogorski, B.Z. (2011) Formation of toxic species and precursors of PCDD/F in thermal decomposition of alpha-cypermethrin. Chemosphere, 85 (2). pp. 143-150.

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This article examines the thermal decomposition of alpha-cypermethrin, one of the most common pyrethroid pesticides. The objective was to identify its decomposition pathways and to gain an understanding into the formation of toxic species in the environment, including those that may behave in combustion systems, especially in fires in the environment, as precursors for PCDD/F (polychlorinated dibenzo-. p-dioxins and dibenzofurans). The experiments were conducted under non-oxidative conditions using a tubular reactor housed in a three-zone heating furnace and operated with a dilute stream of alpha-cypermethrin in 99.999% nitrogen. The condensable products were identified and quantitated, after being collected in a cold solvent trap and in an activated charcoal cartridge. The study revealed the formation of pollutants including precursors of toxic PCDD/F such as diphenyl ether and phenol. It was also found that the decomposition of alpha-cypermethrin involved parallel pathways of an unusual vinylcyclopropane rearrangement-. cum-aromatisation reaction transforming alpha-cypermethrin and a rupture of the C(O)O. C(C. N) linkage. The former is similar to that occurring in the decomposition of permethrin pesticide, whereas the latter constitutes a newly discovered channel for the formation of pollutants. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations allowed us to attribute the occurrence of the second pathway to the effect of the cyanide group in significantly weakening the O. C bond.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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