Distribution, exposure pathways, sources and toxicity of nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates in the environment
Alkylphenols (APs) are ultimate breakdown products of alkylphenol polyethoxylate (APEs) that are used in cleaning and industrial processes. The most commonly used APEs in the market are the nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) and octylphenol ethoxylates (OPEs). As a result of their widespread use and their lipophilic nature, these compounds are ubiquitous in the environment and are currently of concern because of their toxicity, oestrogenic properties and widespread contamination. This review summarizes the concentrations of NPE and NP in different environmental media. The sources of NPE in the environment and toxicity are reviewed. Their distribution patterns in the environment as well as exposure pathways are discussed with a view to provide better understanding of these emerging environmental contaminants. It is envisaged that this review will heighten the importance of identifying emerging issues and data gaps, and generate a future research agenda on APEs.
Keywords: nonylphenols, nonylphenol ethoxylates, concentrations, exposure pathway, sources, toxicity