In this study, treatment of phthalates by electrocoagulation employing stainless steel electrodes was investigated using dimethyl phthalate (DMP) as a model compound. DMP was completely destructed within 30 min up to the high initial concentration of 100mg/L while total mineralization was also obtained within a couple of hours. The applied current density of 22.5 mA/cm(2) and electrolyte (NaCl) concentrations varying between 1000 and 1500mg/L as chloride resulted in the highest treatment performance. The initial solution pH (2-6) had practically no effect on the process efficiency. Desorption experiments and the reaction rates obtained for DMP, COD and TOC abatements appeared to be a strong evidence of an oxidative removal mechanism. DMP removal fitted first order kinetics. COD and TOC removals began after the total DMP removal and also fitted first order kinetics. Activated sludge inhibition experiments revealed that toxicity could be significantly reduced by electrocoagulation application. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.