Return to the list
Switzerland - Final Regulatory Action
Octylphenols and octylphenol ethoxylates CAS number:
140-66-9, 1806-26-4, 27193-28-8, 68987-90-6, 9002-93-1, 9036-19-5
Date circular:

Chemical name:

Final regulatory action has been taken for the category: Pesticide, Industrial

Final regulatory action: The chemical is Severely Restricted

Use or uses prohibited by the final regulatory action:

Banned uses
Co-formulant in pesticide products (plant protection and biocide products)
Banned uses:
Institutional and industrial cleaning (severely restricted)
In household cleaning products (banned)
In cosmetic products (banned)
Textile and leather processing (severely restricted)
In agricultural teat dips (banned)
Metal working (severely restricted)
Paper and pulp manufacturing (banned)

Use or uses that remain allowed:

Institutional and industrial cleaning only in:
- controlled closed dry cleaning systems where washing liquid is recycled or incinerated
- cleaning systems with special treatment where the washing liquid is recycled or incinerated
Textile and leather processing only in:
- processing with no release into waste water
- systems with special treatment where the process of water is pre-treated to remove the
organic fraction completely prior to biological waste water treatment (degreasing of sheepskin)
Metal working only:
- in controlled closed systems where the washing liquid is recycled or incinerated
Production of octylphenol based resins.

Pesticide use or uses that remain allowed:

Existing national authorisations of plant protection or biocidal products containing octylphenol ethoxylated as a co-formulant which have been granted before 01/08/2005 (entry into force of the regulatory action) shall remain valid until they expire.

The final regulatory action was based on a risk or hazard evaluation: Yes

Summary of the final regulatory action:

It is prohibited to place the following product types on the market if their content of octylphenol (molecular formula C14H22O), nonylphenol (molecular formula C15H24O) or ethoxylates of these is equal to or greater than 0.1 % by mass:
a. laundry detergents
b. cleaning products
c. cosmetics
d. textiles processing products;
e. leather processing products;
f. metal working products;
g. auxiliary products for the manufacture of cellulose and paper;
h. agricultural teat dips containing these substances as emulsifiers;
i. biocidal products and plant protection products containing these substances as coformulants.
a. spermicides;
b. textile and leather processing products if:
1. their processing does not result in the disposal of octylphenol ethoxylates or nonylphenol ethoxylates in waste water, or
2. for installations for special treatment, such as degreasing of sheep skin, the
process water is pre-treated to remove the organic fraction completely prior to
the biological waste water treatment;
c. metal working products intended for use in closed and controlled systems in which the cleaning liquid is recycled or incinerated.

The reasons for the final regulatory action were relevant to: Environment

Summary of known hazards and risks to the environment:

Octylphenol ethoxylates are released to waste water and a considerable part is converted to octylphenol at sewage treatment plants (STP) which partly leaves the STP via effluent.
Octylphenol is acutely very toxic for water organisms: LC50 (72h) Pimephales promelas: 0.25 mg/l. In long-term tests rainbow trout is the most sensitive species: NOEC (60d) Salmo gairdneri: 0.006 mg/l. This results in a PNEC of 0.0006 mg/l.
In 1983 a maximum concentration of 0.03 mg/l of nonylphenol in Swiss STP effluents has been measured. Assuming a nine-fold higher consumption of nonylphenol ethoxylated than octylphenol ethoxylated a concentration of 0.003 mg/l for octylphenol can be estimated. A tenfold dilution in the river gives an estimated surface water concentration of 0.0003 mg/l.
The possibility that estrogenic effects could occur at concentrations below the derived PNEC
values cannot be excluded.
Octylphenol shows a moderate tendency to bioaccumulate, having a calculated BCF of 331 (Ref 2).

Expected effect of the final regulatory action in relation to the environment:

Reduction of the risk to the environment

Date of entry into force of the final regulatory action: 01/08/2005