Removal of bisphenol A and 17α-ethinyl estradiol from landfill leachate using single-walled carbon nanotubes

Lesley Joseph, Qammer Zaib, Iftheker A. Khan, Nicole D. Berge, Yong Gyun Park, Navid B. Saleh, Yeomin Yoon

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142 Scopus citations


In this study, the adsorption of bisphenol A (BPA) and 17α-ethinyl estradiol (EE2) from landfill leachate onto single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) was investigated. Different leachate solutions were prepared by altering the pH, ionic strength, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the solutions to mimic the varying water conditions that occur in leachate during the various stages of waste decomposition. The youngest and oldest leachate solutions contained varying DOC and background chemistry and were represented by leachate Type A (pH = 5.0; DOC = 2500 mg/L; conductivity = 12,500 μS/cm; [Ca2+] = 1200 mg/L; [Mg2+] = 470 mg/L) and Type E (pH = 7.5; DOC = 250 mg/L; conductivity = 3250 μS/cm; [Ca2+] = 60 mg/L; [Mg2+] = 180 mg/L). These solutions were subsequently combined in different ratios to produce intermediate solutions, labeled B-D, to replicate time-dependent changes in leachate composition. Overall, a larger fraction of EE2 was removed as compared to BPA, consistent with its higher log KOW value. The total removal of BPA and EE2 decreased in older leachate solutions, with the adsorptive capacity of SWCNTs decreasing in the order of leachate Type A > Type B > Type C > Type D > Type E. An increase in the pH from 3.5 to 11 decreased the adsorption of BPA by 22% in young leachate and by 10% in old leachate. The changes in pH did not affect the adsorption of EE2 in the young leachate, but did reduce adsorption by 32% in the old leachate. Adjusting the ionic strength using Na+ did not significantly impact adsorption, while increasing the concentration of Ca2+ resulted in a 12% increase in the adsorption of BPA and a 19% increase in the adsorption of EE2. DOC was revealed to be the most influential parameter in this study. In the presence of hydrophilic DOC, represented by glucose in this study, adsorption of the endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) onto the SWCNTs was not affected. In the absence of SWCNTs, hydrophobic DOC (i.e., humic acid) adsorbed 15-20% of BPA and EE2. However, when the humic acid and SWCNTs were both present, the overall adsorptive capacity of the SWCNTs was reduced. Hydrophobic (π-π electron donor-acceptor) interactions between the EDCs and the constituents in the leachate, as well as interactions between the SWCNTs and the EDCs, are proposed as potential adsorption mechanisms for BPA and EE2 onto SWCNTs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4056-4068
Number of pages13
JournalWater Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by GS E&C Research Institute. Funding was provided by a grant (07SeaHeroB01-01) from the Plant Technology Advancement Program of the Ministry of Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs of the Korean government and by the University of South Carolina.


  • 17α-Ethinyl estradiol
  • Adsorption
  • Bisphenol A
  • Landfill leachate
  • Single-walled carbon nanotubes


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