Journal of Physical Chemistry A, Vol.124, No.52, 10967-10976, 2020
Theoretical Study of Ozonation of Methylparaben and Ethylparaben in Aqueous Solution
Parabens are widely employed in toothpaste, cosmetics, textiles, beverages, and preservatives, causing a serious environmental concern because they are endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs). As one of the highly reactive oxidants, ozone has a great effect on EDC removal. To understand the degradation and transformation of parabens in the aquatic environment and their toxicity to aquatic organisms, the degradation reaction of parabens initiated by O-3 was studied meticulously using quantum chemical calculations. The degradation process includes multiple initial reaction channels and consequent degradation pathways of the Criegee intermediates. Through thermodynamic data, the rate constants were computed using the transition state theory (TST). At a temperature of 298 K and a pressure of 1 atm, the calculated rate constants were 3.92 and 3.94 M-1 s(-1 )for methylparaben (MPB) and ethylparaben (EPB), respectively. The rate constants increased as the temperature increased or as the length of the alkyl chain on the benzene ring increased. Through the ecotoxicity assessment procedure, the ecotoxicity of parabens and the products in the degradation process can be assessed. Most degradation byproducts are either less toxic or nontoxic. Some byproducts are still harmful, such as oxalaldehyde (P2) and ethyl 2,3-dioxopropanoate (P10). Furthermore, the ecological toxicity of parabens increased with augmentation of the alkyl chain on the benzene ring. The effect of the alkyl chain length on the benzene ring in the compound cannot be ignored.