Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 2008 (English)Report (Other academic)
Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) are part of the alkylphenol ethoxylate group of non-ionic surfactants. All NPEs degrade relatively easily to form short-chained NPEs and (particularly in anaerobic conditions) nonylphenol (NP). NP and short-chained NPEs are toxic to aquatic organisms. Since they are lipophilic, they accumulate in sewage sludge and sediments, and bioaccumulate in aquatic species. NP/NPEs also possibly have endocrine-disrupting properties. NP/NPEs were included in the 1992 OSPAR Action Plan, and were therefore added to the List of Chemicals for Priority Action in 1998. NPEs are used as emulsifiers, dispersive agents, surfactants and/or wetting agents and are the primary source of inputs to the sea of NP and NPEs. The main users are the industrial, institutional and domestic cleaning sectors (30 % of EU use). Other significant sectors are emulsion polymerisation (12 %), textiles (10 %), chemical synthesis (9 %) and leather (8 %). Estimated use in Western Europe in 1997 was 76 600 tonnes. Concentrations in the environment have decreased significantly, at least in some areas, over the last 15 - 20 years. Levels of around 0.08 – 3.1 μg/l of dissolved NP and 0.09 – 5.2 μg/l total extractable NP have been found in a UK estuary. Levels of up to 9.5 mg/kg dry weight of NPEs have been measured in the livers of river fish. The existing OSPAR measure is PARCOM Recommendation 92/8 on Nonylphenol-Ethoxylates which required the phasing out of the use of NPEs as cleaning agents for domestic uses (1995) and industrial uses (2000) and initiated further study on other uses of NPEs and similar substances. National initiatives have been taken in some OSPAR States on the use of NPEs in water-based paints, agricultural pesticides, and emulsion polymers. EC action on NPEs is being considered under the EC directive relating to the restriction on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations, but no draft directive has yet been presented. NP is included on the draft list of priority hazardous substances under the EC Water Framework Directive. The action recommended is: to support EC risk-reduction measures on NP/NPE use in agricultural pesticides and in emulsion polymers for the textile industry and coatings; to support an EC limit on NP/NPE concentrations in sewage sludge applied to agricultural soil; to develop and OSPAR monitoring strategy; to take action to prevent the substitution for NP/NPEs of other alkylphenols with similar properties; to consider whether OSPAR action is needed on the use of NP/NPEs in the offshore industry; a review by OSPAR in 2003 of the need for further OSPAR measures to supplement the eventual EC measures; and to ask other relevant international forums to take account of the background document. A monitoring strategy for nonylphenol/nonylphenolethoxylates is annexed to this background document.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
OSPAR Commission , 2008.
farming, oceans, environment, inlandWaters
nonylphenol, Marin miljö, surfactants agents, wetting agents, short-chained NPEs, environment, Nonylphenol ethoxylates, dispersive agents, NPEs, endocrine-disrupting, emulsifiers, concentration, toxic, aquatic organisms
Research subject Environmental Objectives, A Non-Toxic Environment; Miljöövervakningens programområden, Coast and sea
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:naturvardsverket:diva-549Local ID: F95AFC98-D249-48B7-90B0-7BE496CA3355ISBN: 0 946956 79 0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:naturvardsverket-549DiVA: diva2:658115