Formation of N-Nitrosodimethylamine during Chloramination of Secondary and Tertiary Amines: Role of Molecular Oxygen and Radical Intermediates

N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a carcinogenic disinfection byproduct from water chloramination. Despite the identification of numerous NDMA precursors, essential parts of the reaction mechanism such as the incorporation of molecular O-2 are poorly understood. In laboratory model systems for the chloramination of secondary and tertiary amines, we investigated the kinetics of precursor disappearance and NDMA formation, quantified the stoichiometries of monochloramine (NH2Cl) and aqueous O-2 consumption, derived O-18-kinetic isotope effects (O-18-KIE) for the reactions of aqueous O-2, and studied the impact of radical scavengers on NDMA formation. Although the molar NDMA yields from five N,N-dimethylamine-containing precursors varied between 1.4% and 90%, we observed the stoichiometric removal of one O-2 per N,N-dimethylarnine group of the precursor indicating that the oxygenation of N atoms did not determine the molar NDMA yield. Small O-18-KIEs between 1.0026 +/- 0.0003 and 1.0092 +/- 0.0009 found for all precursors as well as completely inhibited NDMA formation in the presence of radical scavengers (ABTS and trolox) imply that O-2 reacted with radical species. Our study suggests that aminyl radicals from the oxidation of organic amines by NH2Cl and N-peroxyl radicals from the reaction of aminyl radicals with aqueous O-2 are part of the NDMA formation mechanism.

Published in:
Environmental Science & Technology, 51, 1, 280-290
Washington, American Chemical Society

 Record created 2017-02-17, last modified 2018-03-17

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