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Environment

EPA Acting On Nonylphenols

by Britt E. Erickson
October 6, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 40

EPA is taking steps to regulate nonylphenols and nonylphenol ethoxylates, which are made from and break down into nonylphenols. Nonylphenol ethoxylates are nonionic surfactants used in products such as detergents, personal care products, paints, and pesticides. EPA says it is acting because nonylphenols, which have estrogenic activity at low concentrations, are highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Under a rule EPA finalized last week, U.S. facilities must report annually how much of certain nonylphenols they release to the air, water, and landfills. The rule adds nonylphenols as a category to the Toxics Release Inventory program. Facilities must begin reporting their releases of these chemicals for 2015, with forms due by mid-2016. In a separate action, the agency proposed requiring manufacturers to notify EPA at least 90 days before using any of 11 nonylphenol ethoxylates or two nonylphenols for any new use, or, for two other nonylphenols, for uses other than as a chemical intermediate or as an epoxy cure catalyst. Under that Toxic Substances Control Act proposal, EPA would review each notice and could possibly restrict a new use.

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