The photodegradation and degradation products of hexachlorocyclopentadiene (C-56) in aqueous solutions were studied in the laboratory. In each case, the half-life of C-56 was less than 4 min when exposed to sunlight. At least eight degradation products were positively or tentatively identified: 2,3,4,4,5-Pentachloro-2-cyclopentenone, hexachloro-2-cyclopentenone and hexachloro-3-cyclopentenone were the primary photodegradation products, and pentachlorocis-2,4-pentadienoic acid, Z- and E-pentachlorobutadiene and tetrachlorobutyne were the secondary degradation products. Dissociation of the primary photolysis products may proceed through corresponding pentadienoic acids to form smaller molecular weight compounds such as pentachlorobutadiene isomers and tetrachlorobutyne. In addition, dimerization of 2,3,4,4,5-pentachloro-2-cyclopentenone to form higher molecular weight compounds such as hexachloroindenone may present a minor route of degradation. The results also indicate that C-56 is highly photoreactive and suggest a possible pathway for the compound's transformation in the environment when exposed to sunlight. ?? 1987.