Nonylphenol and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates
September 25, 2014 – To reduce risks, EPA proposed a Significant New Use Rule which would require EPA review of 15 nonylphenols (NPs) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) before reintroducing these chemicals into commerce. NPs and NPEs are a potentially harmful class of chemicals that are toxic to aquatic organisms.
EPA anticipates that the FR will publish the week of September 29, 2014. Comments will be due December 1, 2014.
- What chemicals are addressed in the Action Plan?
- Why is EPA concerned about these chemicals?
- What action is EPA taking?
- Previous Actions
What chemicals are addressed in the action plan?
The Nonylphenol (NP)and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE) Action Plan (13 pp., 133KB, About PDF) was released on August 18, 2010.
Why is EPA concerned about these chemicals?
NP and NPEs are produced in large volumes, with uses that lead to widespread release to the aquatic environment.
NP is persistent in the aquatic environment, moderately bioaccumulative, and extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. NP has also been shown to exhibit estrogenic properties in in vitro and in vivo assays. NP’s main use is in the manufacture of NPEs.
NPEs are nonionic surfactants that are used in a wide variety of industrial applications and consumer products. Many of these, such as laundry detergents, are “down-the-drain” applications. Some others, such as dust-control agents and deicers, lead to direct release to the environment. NPEs, though less toxic and persistent than NP, are also highly toxic to aquatic organisms, and, in the environment, degrade into NP.
NP and NPEs have been found in environmental samples taken from freshwater, saltwater, groundwater, sediment, soil and aquatic biota. NP has also been detected in human breast milk, blood, and urine and is associated with reproductive and developmental effects in rodents. Read the Consumer Fact Sheet for Nonylphenols and Nonylphenols Ethoxylates.
What action is EPA taking?
- September 25, 2014 – 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). EPA anticipates that the FR will publish the week of September 29, 2014. Comments will be due 60 days after the FR publication date. 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.
- May 9, 2012 -- Through its Design for the Environment program, EPA released a final alternatives assessment identifying eight safer alternatives to nonylphenol ethoxylates.
Download the complete Nonylphenol (NP) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) Action Plan (PDF), (13 pp., 133KB, About PDF).
Read about the ongoing voluntary phase-out of NPEs in industrial laundry detergents as part of the Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative (SDSI). The Textile Rental Services Association of America (TRSA) agreed to expedite a phase-out of NPEs in industrial laundry detergents (3 p., 197 kb.) About PDF). The phase out would end the use of NPEs in industrial laundry detergents by 2013 for liquid detergents and 2014 for powder detergents.