DoE considers phase-out options for NPE surfactants

About 6,500 tonnes of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), surfactants used in industrial cleaning agents and a host of minor applications, are discharged annually to surface waters in the UK, according to a study for the Department of the Environment (DoE).1 The chemicals' toxicity has prompted a European agreement that discharges should be reduced - but it remains to be seen whether the DoE will seek to implement this by voluntary or statutory action.

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