Banned in Europe

Why Europeans Have Banned the Use of the Nonionic Surfactant Nonylphenol

When we consider the American study of Nonylphenol discussed above, a question remains: What becomes of the approximately five percent of nonylphenol and its ethoxylates which the study shows to remain unaltered in treated sewage waste water? This is the effluent which is to be released into the environment. Can we really say that this residual surfactant content is really safe?

Phenol toxin can cause death or serious side effects in hypersensitive individuals even at very low exposures. Europeans experts have considered this and responded accordingly. Yet, in America this and other facts do not affect the choices made by the regulators of these materials. Nevertheless, studies have found that this surfactant is the cause of breast cancer, or at least a contributing factor to this disease. Nonylphenol has been shown to stimulates the growth of breast cancer cells. Nonylphenol also feminizes male fish when present in sufficiently high concentrations in the water. A report on a recent GreenPeace Study on a variety of chemicals present in the environment states that recent research has raised concerns that exposure to alklyphenol compounds such as this Nonionic surfactant could cause direct damage to DNA and to sperm structure and function in mammals. The nonionic surfactant, nonylphenol ethoxylate has been banned in Europe. (, 2001)

Are you comfortable with applying this substance to your clothing? Chances are the end result of laundering with a nonylphenol is the inadvertent application of this chemical (now banned in Europe) onto your skin. Genuine “green detergents” will not pose this risk. This would be a good thing to remember as you reach for the cheapest detergent on the shelf. In America, at least, you have to choose your detergent carefully to avoid the nonylphenol risk.

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