Directive on the restriction of Nonylphenols (NP) & Nonylphenol Ethoxylate (NPEO) – 2003/53/EC – EU Directive relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (nonylphenol, nonylphenol ethoxylate and cement)
NP = Nonylphenol
NPEO = Nonylphenol Ethoxylate
Nonylphenol (NP) is phenol derivatives. Nonylphenols (NP) are members of the alkylphenol class and primarily used to manufacture cleaning agents and surfactants due to their wetting properties.
Nonylphenol is are having endocrine effects and substance which is used as industrial chemicals and produced in volumes over 100 kilotons per annum in the Federal Republic of Germany. Nonylphenols are starting substance for phenol resins but mainly for nonylphenol ethoxylates, emulsifiers with a surfactant effect.
The substance is imported and exported on a large scale, whether as feedstocks or as processed (semi-finished and final) products. Like most environmental chemicals with endocrine effects, the substance is aromatic compound.
presence and toxicity highly arouse the public concern and Germany Authority
has imposed stringent measures to control their exposure.
The Directive 2003/53/EC entered into force in 2003 and implementation in all
EU member states, including
Chemikalienverbotsverordnung – Chemical prohibition Act – Nonylphenols and Nonylphenoloxylates
reputable German magazine Stiftung Warentest drew national attention by the
publication of certain health effects associated with a number of consumer
products. In 2005, black plastic handles in hammerset were complained for
unpleasant smell and the cause was related to high content of organics while
approximately 2000 milligrams of PAHs were determined. In the same year, it
reported the presence of high levels of phthalates and nonylphenols (NPs) in
Halloween party masks. The subsequent year revealed an article on pushchair
buggies to contain significant amounts of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons
(PAHs), plasticisers and organotin compounds. These aforementioned chemicals
were mainly phenolic or aromatic substances and scientifically known to cause
health effects. Nonylphenols, in particular, affect endocrine systems required
to control growth and maturation.
What is APEO and what does APEO free mean?
What are the bad effects due to the presence of APEO in finished
goods or effluent?
Alkylphenol Ethoxylate (APEO) = AP + NP + NPEO + OPEO
AP = Alkylphenol; NP = Nonylphenol
NPEO = Nonylphenol Ethoxylate; OPEO = Octylphenol Polyethoxylate
At the processing stage, approx.50% of APEO are used as emulsifiers for emulsion polymers based on styrol butadiene, Styrol acrylate, Pure acrylate or PVC systems.
Alkyl Phenol ethoxylates and especially Nonyl Phenol ethoxylates are considered to be very toxic for aquatic life. In Europe these emulsifiers/surfactants are no loner allowed/wanted.
Identification of alternatives to APEO
With reference to the
identified raw materials containing APEO contacts were established to the
producers in order to find out if they were able to supply the same raw
materials without APEO. The manufacturers have often developed APEO-free raw
materials and these raw materials would be possible substitutes in the actual
products without or with few adjustments in the product
testing of alternatives (APEO-free) raw materials or alternative surfactants is
carried out at the Beck & Jørgensen laboratory or at the laboratory at
The health and environmental assessment was performed as a
screening followed by a detailed assessment of groups of substances selected on
the basis of the results of the technical testing:
After finishing all processes, a fabric was tested and found to contain some APEO traces and the level of the APEO content present was not within the acceptable limits. Is there any proven method to remove the APEO content?
There are two simple treatments one can try.
One of the above processes will surely remove the traces of APEO content.
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