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Environmental fate & pathways

Phototransformation in water

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Description of key information

Half-lives of photolytic degradation in water range between 11 and 21 days for o- and p-cresol, respectively.  

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

In the hydrosphere the cresols are expected to undergo photolytic degradation due to the presence of the aromatic ring which acts as chromophore.


In a polluted eutrophic Swiss lake containing a dissolved organic matter concentration of 3.1 mg/L, the estimated natural half-life for o-cresol in the top meter was 11 days when exposed to June sunlight (Faust 1987).



By irradiation of solutions of p-cresol in a merry-go-round reactor, with rose bengal as sensitizer, a half-life of 21 days in surface water was estimated under noon summer sunlight and at the latitude of Switzerland (Scully and Hoigne, 1987).