Defunctionalization of organochlorines through reductive dechlorination (also known as hydrodechlorination—replacement of chlorine atoms by hydrogen—is one of the main methodologies used in the detoxification of these harmful compounds. Most of the published papers on this particular matter focused on specific reagents, reaction conditions, and mainly result efficiency. Some of the authors were also concerned with reaction pathways (e.g., the order in which chlorine atoms were removed from a polychlorinated aromatic substrate—polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs; polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, PCDDs; or polychlorinated dibenzofurans, PCDFs). However, the papers that dealt with the investigation of reaction mechanism were rather scarce. This chapter presents the advances made by researchers in understanding, from a mechanistic point of view, the hydrodechlorination process, along with our own assumptions. In doing so, it would be easier to predict the behavior of such compounds in a specific environment, showing more clearly the scope and limitations of each process, depending on the reaction conditions and reagents.
Part of the book: Organochlorine