NP; formula: C15H24O; CAS Registry Number: 84852-15-3

Alkylphenol with a C9-alkyl-chain

Nonylphenol is used in the production of synthetics, stabilisers, as well as phenolic and epoxide-resins. The major part, however, is used in nonylphenol ethoxylate production.

Nonylphenol ethoxylate is water soluble and used as surfactant, e.g., in industrial cleaners. Further applications include those as emulsifiers, e.g., in paints and lacquers, adhesives and pesticides.
In the environment, nonylphenol ethoxylate is successively degraded to nonylphenol.

Degradation of nonylphenol is rather slow. It is far more toxic than the parent compound and has a high potential for bioaccumulation. Furthermore, nonylphenol is an endocrine disruptor with estrogenic activity.

Of all nonylphenol ethoxylates, the 4-nonylphenol-compounds are commercially most important. Accordingly, their degradation products - i.e., linear and branched 4-nonylphenol - are widely found in the environment.

Since 2003, certain applications of nonylphenol ethoxylate which may lead to high emissions are restricted or banned in the EU.


Sampling area

Sampling period

1985 - 2001