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APEOs are anionic surfactants (chemical compounds whose structure, consisting of at least one hydrophilic and one hydrophobic functional group, permit them to lower the surface tension between two substances). An important function of surfactants is the stabilisation of emulsions. In this case, they are referred to as “emulsifiers”. In the building industry, APEOs are used as additives in paints and varnishes, for metal treatment, as pore builder agents in concrete, release agents, bituminous and wax emulsions.
In terms of quantities produced, nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEOs) are the most important APEOs. The main ecological problem of NPEOs is that they are broken down in the environment to nonylphenol compounds that are toxic to the aquatic environment and are very difficult to biodegrade. Nonylphenol (NP) is very toxic to aquatic organisms (H400, H410). NP has been found to have oestrogenic effects and to be highly bioaccumulative (bioconcentration factors > 1000). It is not easily biodegradable. Particularly under anaerobic conditions, NP hardly degrades, and may consequently accumulate in water sediments. The risk assessment for 4-nonylphenol carried out at the EU level in the context of the evaluation of existing substances also revealed considerable environmental risks for various areas of use, and need for risk reduction strategies.
EU Risk Assessment Nonylphenol, Dezember 2001 (Berichterstatter Vereinigtes Königreich)
EU Risk Reduction Strategy Nonylphenol, (Berichterstatter Vereinigtes Königreich)
Thomas Hillenbrand: Leitfaden zur Anwendung umweltverträglicher Stoffe für die Herstellung und gewerblichen Anwender gewässerrelevanter Chemischer Produkte Teil 5 Hinweise zur Substitution gefährlicher Stoffe. 5.4 Tenside und Emulgatoren. Umweltbundesamt Berlin, Februar 2003
Products must not contain alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEOs).
Safety data sheet as amended by Regulation (EU) No 453/2010, and manufacturer's declaration.
All products awarded one of the following eco labels meet these criteria:
Alternatively, the corresponding baubook declaration may serve as evidence (www.baubook.info/oea).