Currently there is much interest in another group of endocrine disrupting chemicals known as Nonyl phenol ethoxylates or NPEO’s. These are a group of man-made chemicals that do not occur in nature other then as a result of discharge to the environment. NPEO’s are widely used as surfactants for both the textile and leather industry. The damaging environmental effects of these chemicals has long been realised and as a result there have been various campaigns to highlight the environmental consequences of these chemicals.

Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEO) is the term used to describe the group of organic substances of which NPEO is one. These are mainly used as washing and cleaning agents (i.e. surfactants) and are used for textile and leather processing. Whilst controls are in place within the European Union, the use of these chemicals in the rest of the world is largely unregulated, although there are EPA guidelines and regulations concerning the wider use of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the USA. These chemicals are thought to persist in rivers and their sediments, and also are concentrated by wildlife, such as fish and birds, leading to contamination in their internal organs at much greater levels than in the surrounding environment.

Most significantly NPEO breaks down in the environment to the parent molecule NP (nonyl phenol). NP is persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic.

The most significant aspect of the effects of NPEO is that they are endocrine disrupting chemicals, that is they mimic oestrogen, hormones that are responsible for the development and maintenance of secondary sexual characteristics and behaviour. It is known that compounds with oestrogenic effects disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system, leading to potential reproductive problems.

“These chemicals are thought to persist in rivers and their sediments, and also are concentrated by wildlife, such as fish and birds”

What legislation relates to NPEO’s?

NPEO’s are listed under Annex XVII of REACH. This applies within European communities to restrict the use of these compounds and has been in force since 2005.

The Directive states the following:

‘(Nonylphenol and Nonylphenol ethoxylate) May not be placed on the market or used as a substance or constituent of preparations in concentrations equal or higher than 0.1% by mass for the following purposes:

Textile and leather processing except;

– Processing with no release to wastewater,

– Systems with special treatment where the process water is pre-treated to remove the organic fraction completely prior to biological wastewater treatment (degreasing of sheepskins).’

Other applications are also restricted by the legislation, including industrial cleaning, domestic cleaning, metal working, pulp and paper manufacture, cosmetics, personal care products, pesticides and biocides.

For more information on NPEO’s, please contact info@blcleathertech.com or call +44 (0)1604 679999

Our Accreditations

Eurofins | BLC holds accreditations from UKAS, CPSC, and ILAC, and has auditors approved to carry out LWG audits. Trust Eurofins | BLC to deliver some of the most accurate test results in the industry.

View our Accreditations

Testimonials

"I just wanted to say a big thanks for 2 great days of leather education last week."

IKEA

Sweden

"I enjoyed all of the leather course as a chemist I wanted to understand the whole process of making leather."

Smit & zoon

Netherlands

"Eurofins | BLC Membership allows us to develop innovative high quality raw materials in order to continue our product improvement programme."

Mulberry

United Kingdom

“10 years of Eurofins | BLC Membership has enabled us to provide continuous assurance of product quality and safety, giving our customers greater confidence in our products.”

ScS

United Kingdom

"I enjoyed the combination of theoretical and practical training on the 4-day leather course."

Asos

United Kingdom

"Smart chemical testing of wet blue saves our business time and money."

Casino Hide Tanners

Australia

"Membership allowed us to use the expertise of Eurofins | BLC to improve our suppliers' environmental performance."

Clarks International

United Kingdom

"All parts of the leather training course were relevant and very informative. I now have a new appreciation for leather!"

Ralph Lauren

United States of America

"We thought every part of the Eurofins | BLC leather course was very informative and interesting."

John Lewis Partnership

United Kingdom

"I became a Member to take advantage their specification building services and 1-2-1 regulatory advice."

Gheli International

India

"We were very impressed by the speaker on the leather training course who had excellent knowledge of the subject."

Next

United Kingdom

"Through Eurofins | BLC Membership, we have access to technical support for leather product testing, helping us to provide more efficient services to our customers."

William Lamb

United Kingdom

Send An Enquiry

Contact Eurofins | BLC to discuss your enquiry with friendly and helpful experts and to get a quotation. For Eurofins | BLC to receive your enquiry, you must complete all 3 sections of the contact form below. To receive the Technical Update email, you simply need to complete this form. Eurofins | BLC aim to respond to all enquiries within 24 hours Monday to Friday.

  • Step 1 Tell us about your enquiry
  • Step 2 Tell us about your business
  • Step 3 Tell us how we can contact you

Select your enquiry category








Type your enquiry

Tell us about your business

Tell us how we can contact you