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Nonylphenol and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates


November 25, 2014 – In response to requests from the public, EPA extended the public comment period for the proposed Nonylphenols / Nonylphenol Ethoxylates Significant New Use Rule (NP/NPE SNUR) by 45 days. Comments on the proposal were originally due December 1, 2014. Comments will now be due January 15, 2015.

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.

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?

Previous Actions:

Download the complete Nonylphenol (NP) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) Action Plan (PDF), (13 pp., 133KB, About PDF).

Access the public comment docket for the Nonylphenol (NP) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) Action Plan (Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2010-0558) on Regulations.gov.

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 pp, 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.

Read about the advance notice of proposed rulemaking for testing NP and NPEs.

Read the citizens TSCA section 21 petition regarding NP and NPEs (PDF) (17 pp. 920 kb, About PDF).

Read about EPA’s response to the section 21 petition.

Access the public docket for this previous action (Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2007-0490) on Regulations.gov.

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