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This article concerns research into the alkaline saponification of sewage sludge which may lead to the degradation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) with five or more chloro-substituents, hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and dichlorodiphenyls (DDE). Refluxing sewage sludge with 2N KOH in methanol for 6 hours did not cause degradation at 50 C, and reduced the concentration of heptachlorobiphenyls to decachlorobiphenyls to approximately 50% at 70 C, and even more at 90 C. Refluxing with 4N KOH in methanol for 6 hours efficiently eliminated heptachlorobiphenyls to decachlorobiphenyls, reduced hexachlorobiphenyls to around 50% and pentachlorobiphenyls to around 30%. HCB was degraded faster than PCBs, whereas DDE was similar to pentachlorobiphenyls.

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Authors: RAHMAN M S, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, Institute of Food and Radiation Biology, Dhaka (BD);PAYA-PEREZ A B, JRC Ispra (IT);LARSEN B, JRC Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: Fresenius Environmental Bulletin (1997)
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