Phase-out for APEs draws closer

Widespread controls on alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEs) appear inevitable following an official risk assessment which concluded that releases of many of the chemicals are hazardous to wildlife. Research commissioned by the Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions (DETR) has suggested that voluntary controls have failed. It recommends that new EC marketing and use restrictions - costed at up to £800 million by industry - will be the most rapid and effective means of control.

APEs are poorly degraded during sewage treatment to products which are oestrogenic and toxic to wildlife. The Environment Agency is preparing an environmental quality standard (EQS) for nonyl phenol, one of the most well understood breakdown products, to protect wildlife in rivers receiving effluent discharges (ENDS Report 264, p 34 

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