Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) as well as Nonylphenol (NP) are the extensively used members of the complex alkylphenol ethoxylate and alkylphenol class of non-ionic surfactants. Manufacturers treat nonylphenols with ethylene oxide under basic conditions to make nonylphenol ethoxylates. They are clear to light orange oily liquids or wax-like solids, and are considered as chemically stable and non-reactive.
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Nonylphenol ethoxylates were initially used in domestic laundry products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as detergent manufacturers have agreed to avoid its usage. Despite its harmful effects, nonylphenol ethoxylates are being used extensively as laundry detergents.Nonylphenol ethoxylates have been used in the market for more than 50 years. Products composed of nonylphenol ethoxylates are useful in various sectors such as oil and gas recovery, paints, pest control products, power generation, pulp and paper processing, resins and protective coatings, steel manufacturing, and textile processing.
Various cleaning products such as detergents and degreasers are also manufactured for institutional and domestic use. Nonylphenol ethoxylates have even been used in a vast range of consumer oriented products such as cleaners, cosmetics, and even paints.
A number of hazards have also been associated with the use of nonylphenol ethoxylates. They are known to cause adverse effects on human health as well as the environment.
Nonylphenol ethoxylates may enter the human body through inhalation of air consisting of nonylphenol ethoxylates or ingestion of unhygienic or contaminated food or water. It may also enter the human body through dermal exposure to nonylphenol ethoxylates as well as products containing nonylphenol ethoxylates.
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Long-chain nonylphenol ethoxylates break down rapidly in the environment to form short-chain nonylphenol ethoxylates and nonylphenols, which do not undergo further degradation easily. In liquid condition, nonylphenol ethoxylates tend to undergo degradation, which is photo-induced. In the atmosphere, nonylphenols are degraded at a rapid rate by hydroxyl radicals and are not be present in air usually.
Due to the ill-effects of nonylphenol ethoxylates mentioned above, the European Union has partially eliminated the use of nonylphenol /nonylphenol ethoxylates in most industrial and product sectors, while Canada has set up a pollution prevention plan designed to drastically reduce the usage of nonylphenol/nonylphenol ethoxylates.
The nonylphenol ethoxylates market is expected to be hampered in the near future due to the implementation of regulatory measures over the use of these ethoxylates.
Asia Pacific is estimated to account for the major share of the global nonylphenol ethoxylates market. Demand in Asia Pacific is projected to be in accordance with the growth of applications in the region. Growth of the nonylphenol ethoxylates market is proportionally associated with the increase in manufacturing sites, commercial buildings, hotels, health care facilities, and others in the region. This is influenced by several factors such as increase in income and expenditure on the residential sector as well as the shift in manufacturing sites to the low-cost markets of Asia-Pacific.