Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs)

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Toxic sludge 80px.png

WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) are organic compounds that belong to a larger group of alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs). APEs are made from and break down into alkylphenols, which are are suspected endocrine disruptors.[1][2] APEs, including NPEs, are mainly used as synthetic surfactants used in detergents and cleaning products. The European Union and Canada have banned the use of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) in detergents.[3] For more information, see the article on nonylphenols (NPs).


Nonylphenols have been used as emulsifiers and modifiers in paints, pesticides, textiles, and some personal care products. They have also been used as plasticizers and antioxidants in plastics and resins. In the 1990s, over 500,000 tons of alkylphenol ethoxylates were produced annually worldwide. [4]

Nonylphenol ethoxylates are more commonly used than octylphenol ethoxylates. The alkylphenol ethoxylates enter the environment through human use of products containing them, through sewage, and through manufacturing waste streams.

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. [alkylphenols and alkylphenol ethoxylates, Chemical Encyclopedia, Healthy Child Healthy World, Accessed November 9, 2010.
  2. Alkylphenolic Compounds - Introduction, Accessed November 9, 2010.
  3. A Safer Alternative Exists to This Toxic Cleaning Agent, Sierra Club, November 2005.
  4. [ 4-tert-octylphenol], Centers for Disease Control website, Accessed August 16, 2010.

External resources

External articles