15 Bad Intentions Under REACH

Three new restriction proposals for NPs and NPEs have been announced under REACH.  Specifically, the three are:

  1. 4-nonylphenol, branched
  2. nonylphenol
  3. nonylphenol ethoxylates

NPs and NPEs are grouped under alkyl phenols and their ethoxylates.  Sweden has proposed intentions to restrict the three substances.

Notification of intention: September 2, 2011
Expected date of submission: August 3, 2012

Currently, most substances under intention for restriction are mercury compounds and phthalates.  To view or download the list of 12 substances with intention for restriction under REACH see below or download REACH’s12 intentions.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency understands that the proposed restriction is a new restriction, not an amendment of an existing one.  (The amendment of an existing restriction requires first a decision according to REACH article 69(5) to amend the restriction and then a decision according to the normal procedure amending the restriction.)

Justification for the three new proposed market restrictions for 4-nonylphenol, branched and nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates is reportedly based on Sweden’s understanding that:

  1. NP (e.g., nonylphenol) and NPEs (e.g., nonylphenol ethoxylates) have been found in environmental samples taken from freshwater, saltwater, groundwater, sediment, soil and aquatic biota
  2. NP has also been detected in human breast milk, blood, and urine and is associated with reproductive and developmental effects in rodents
  3. NP is persistent in the aquatic environment, moderately bioaccumulative, and extremely toxic to aquatic organisms
  4. NP has also been shown to exhibit estrogenic properties in vitro and in vivo assays. NP’s main use is in the manufacture of NPEs
  5. NPEs are nonionic surfactants that have been used in a wide variety of industrial applications and consumer products. They can be found in textile (including leather) articles
  6. NPEs, though less toxic and persistent than NP, are also highly toxic to aquatic organisms, and, in the environment, degrade into NP
  7. Levels of NP in waters above the environmental quality standards in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) is found in several waters despite the strict restriction on the use of Nonylphenol (NP) and Nonylphenoletoxilates (NPEO) under the limitations directive 76/769/EEC (now in Reach Annex XVII, entry 46) having been in force since January 2005
  8. NP and NPEO in textiles have been identified as a significant source of NP in the environment

Based on these data, the Swedish Chemicals Agency is investigating the possibility to propose a restriction on the placing of the market of textile and leather articles containing NP or NPEO.

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About Kal

Kal Kawar, CIH, PE, has a bachelor's in chemical engineering and a master's in industrial hygiene. His professional experience includes serving as staff industrial hygienist for IBM's New York semiconductor manufacturing facility, and as industrial hygienist for IBM’s US headquarters. Now executive vice president of Actio, Kal taps more than 20 years' worth of chemical engineering, industrial hygiene, and environmental engineering experience. His far-reaching expertise with global regulatory challenges created by EPA, TSCA, REACH, RoHS, WEEE – and hundreds of others – aid in developing Actio software solutions for MSDS management, raw material disclosure compliance, and product stewardship in a supply chain.