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.


Bream Bioindicator in rivers and lakes
Blue mussel One of the most important edible mussel species common in the North and Baltic Sea

Sampling area

Saarländischer Verdichtungsraum Important, old-industrialised conurbation in Germany.
Rhein Longest river in Germany
NP Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park in the largest brackish water (Bodden) habitat of the world.
BR/NP Wattenmeere National park in the world largest connected sand and mud flats.
Elbe Fourth largest river basin in Central Europe

Sampling period

1985 - 2001