APERC to Host May 8-9 Webcasts on NPE Use in Laundry Industry

Bruce Beggs |

WASHINGTON — Laundry industry professionals will have the chance to receive updates on issues and initiatives related to nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) in the laundry industry when the Alkylphenols & Ethoxylates Research Council (APERC) hosts two special webcasts next week.
The webcasts at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, May 8, and 10 a.m. EDT Friday, May 9, will provide participants with presentations by expert speakers as well as the opportunity to ask questions.
NPE surfactants have been workhorse ingredients in industrial and institutional detergents for more than 50 years due to their technical performance and cost-effectiveness, according to the APERC, whose members include manufacturers, processors, users and raw material suppliers of alkylphenols (AP) and alkylphenol derivatives (e.g., alkylphenol ethoxylates [APE]).
NPEs have been the subject of regulatory scrutiny in Europe and Canada over the past decade, APERC says. And while Europe imposed restrictions on their use in laundry applications in 2002, APERC claims the European Union is considering raising its criteria for safe levels based on new studies demonstrating that the use of NPEs isn’t necessarily hazardous to the environment.
More recently, NPEs have been drawn into the agendas of activist organizations and the laundry labor union UNITE HERE.
Last year, the Sierra Club, UNITE HERE and several other environmental groups called for further health and safety studies, labeling of products containing the chemicals, and banning their use in industrial and consumer detergents in favor of what they consider to be safer alternatives.
The EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) rejected their petition almost in its entirety, according to APERC. “APERC’s position is that the rejection was appropriate since there is no evidence that these compounds present a risk to laundry workers or the environment.”
Nevertheless, pressure to deselect detergents that contain NPEs continues, APERC says, driven more by market forces than regulatory threats or safety issues.

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.


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