IDENTIFICATION AND USE: nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) are surfactants that have been in commerce for over 50 years. Products containing NPEs are used in many sectors, including textile processing, pulp and paper processing, paints, resins and protective coatings, oil and gas recovery, steel manufacturing, pest control products and power generation. A variety of cleaning products, degreasers and detergents are also available for institutional and domestic use. These products have numerous applications, including controlling deposits on machinery, cleaning equipment, and scouring fibres; as wetting and de-wetting agents; in dyeing and machine felt cleaning and conditioning; and in product finishing. NPEs have also been used in a wide range of consumer products, including cosmetics, cleaners, and paints.
HUMAN EXPOSURE AND TOXICITY: nonylphenol ethoxylates are thought to interfere with hormones in animals and may therefore interfere with the development and reproductive system in animals. They are listed as endocrine disrupting chemicals on the EU List. NPE is very toxic to fish and other water-dwelling organisms and is considered a hormone disrupting substance, mimicking estrogen. It degrades relatively readily in the environment to form the even more harmful nonylphenol (NP).
Nonylphenol is not readily biodegradable and take months or even longer to degrade in surface waters or in soils and sediments (where it tends to be immobilized). Non-biological degradation is negligible.
Bioconcentration and bioaccumulation is significant in water-dwelling organisms and birds, where it has been found in internal organs at between 10 and 1000 times greater than the surrounding environment. Nonylphenols are not broken down effectively in sewage treatment plants.
ADVERSE EFFECTS: there is little evidence for any significant effects of exposure to nonylphenol ethoxylates on human health. However, exposure to high levels of nonylphenol ethoxylates may cause irritation of the lungs, digestive system, skin and eyes.
Nonylphenol ethoxylates are thought to interfere with hormones in animals and may therefore interfere with the development and reproductive system in animals. They are listed as endocrine disrupting chemicals on the EU List.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has not designated nonylphenol ethoxylates in terms of their carcinogenicity.
FOUND IN THE FOLLOWING VACCINES: INFLUENZA (FLUVIRIN)