Photochemical Formation of Hydrogen Peroxide in Surface and Ground Waters Exposed to Sunlight

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Science  13 May 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4598, pp. 711-712
DOI: 10.1126/science.220.4598.711


A rapid increase in the concentration of hydrogen peroxide was observed when samples of natural surface and ground water from various locations in the United States were exposed to sunlight. The hydrogen peroxide is photochemically generated from organic constituents present in the water; humic materials are believed to be the primary agent producing the peroxide. Studies with superoxide dismutase suggest that the superoxide anion is the precursor of the peroxide.