[Pharmwaste] Nonylphenol ethoxylates article from MI

Tenace, Laurie Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
Fri Jun 29 11:39:04 EDT 2007

(There's more at the web site - I couldn't get the second page to copy -

Common laundry chemical can mess up the sex of fish, maybe do more damage 
Thursday, June 28, 2007By JEFF KARTTIMES WRITER 
Getting rid of that nasty stain on your shirt can do some nasty things to
Great Lakes fish. 

Toxic chemical compounds called nonylphenol ethoxylates, or NPEs, are used in
common industrial and household detergents, paper manufacturing and flame
retardants. But they're also believed to cause male fish to develop female

The Sierra Club and other environmental, public health and angler groups have
petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of NPEs,
which are manufactured by companies including Dow Chemical in Midland, and
substitute them with less toxic compounds called alcohol ethoxylates. 
The problem, advocates say, is that NPEs, a type of endocrine disrupter, are
released into the environment in wastewater. 

But treatment plants aren't equipped, or even required in Michigan, to
completely remove the compounds or monitor for them. 

Plus, billions of gallons of wastewater that overflow into the lakes every
year don't receive full treatment, said Ed Hopkins, director of the Sierra
Club's environmental quality program. 

NPE discharges are already restricted in Europe and Canada. 

''Our view is that since we do have a safer alternative than these chemicals,
we ought not to be relying on sewage treatment plants to remove them, even if
they're removing a high percentage, and we should switch to a safer
alternative,'' Hopkins said. 

A trade group that represents Dow and other NPE manufacturers says the
compounds have been heavily studied and tested. 

EPA and state Department of Environmental Quality officials call NPEs an
emerging issue, and say more research is needed. 

Laurie J. Tenace
Environmental Specialist
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road, MS 4555
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400
PH: (850) 245-8759
FAX: (850) 245-8811
Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us 

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