Nonylphenol and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates

Little Pro on 2016-11-27

Nonylphenol (NP, CAS 25154-52-3) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE) are non-ionic surfactants that used to be widely used in detergents and formulations. Nonylphenol(NP) is persistent in the aquatic environment, moderately bioaccumulative, and extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE) are used in a wide variety of industrial applications and consumer products. NPEs, though less toxic than NP, are also highly toxic to aquatic organisms, and in the environment degrade to more environmentally persistent NP. In this article, we have summarized the restrictions of NP and NPEs in EU and USA.

EU REACH Annex XVII: NP and NPEs Restriction

Currently, both Nonylphenol(NP)and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE) on REACH annex XVII restricted substances list and their use in EU is almost eliminated. They shall not be placed on the market, or used, as substances or in mixtures in concentrations equal to or greater than 0,1 % by weight for the following purposes:

  1. industrial and institutional cleaning except: — controlled closed dry cleaning systems where the washing liquid is recycled or incinerated, — cleaning systems with special treatment where the washing liquid is recycled or incinerated.
  2. domestic cleaning;
  3.  textiles and leather processing except: — processing with no release into waste water, — systems with special treatment where the process water is pre-treated to remove the organic fraction completely prior to biological waste water treatment (degreasing of sheepskin);
  4. emulsifier in agricultural teat dips;
  5. metal working except: — uses in controlled closed systems where the washing liquid is recycled or incinerated;
  6. manufacturing of pulp and paper;
  7. cosmetic products;
  8. other personal care products except: — spermicides;
  9. co-formulants in pesticides and biocides. However national authorisations for pesticides or biocidal products containing nonylphenol ethoxylates as co-formulant, granted before 17 July 2003, shall not be affected by this restriction until their date of expiry.

Restriction of NP and NPEs in USA

In 2014, USA EPA proposed a Significant New Use Rule to require Agency review before a manufacturer starts or resumes use of 15 nonylphenols (NPs) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). This SNUR, when finalized, will provide EPA the opportunity to review and evaluate any intended new or resumed uses of these chemicals and, if necessary, take action to limit those uses.

NP and NPEs have also been added to the list of chemicals included in the Toxic Substances Control Act that "present or may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment." and the Toxics Release Inventory list.


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