4tOP; formula: C14H22O; CAS Registry Number: 140-66-9

Alkylphenol with a C8-Alkyl-chain

Octylphenol is used in the production of phenolic resins and lacquers which are, e.g., applied in the process of vulcanisation of tires. The major part, however, is needed for the production of octylphenol ethoxylates which are used as surfactants. Moreover, octylphenol is found as impurity in the quantitatively more important nonylphenols and nonylphenol ethoxylates.

In the environment, octylphenol ethoxylate is successively degraded to octyphenol.

Degradation of octylphenol is rather slow. It is toxic to fish and has a high potential for bioaccumulation. Furthermore, octylphenol is an endocrine disruptor with estrogenic activity.

Of all octyphenol ethoxylates, the 4-octylphenol-compounds are commercially most important. Accordingly, their degradation products – e.g., the branched 4-tert octylphenol and the linear 4-n-octylphenol - are the dominant octylphenols found in the environment.


Bream Bioindicator in rivers and lakes

Sampling area

Saarländischer Verdichtungsraum Important, old-industrialised conurbation in Germany.
Rhein Longest river in Germany
Elbe Fourth largest river basin in Central Europe

Sampling period

1992 - 2001