Substance flow analysis of nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates in Turkey

Karakaş, Cansu
Nonylphenols (NP) are among the chemicals presenting a substantial risk to the aquatic environment and therefore listed as “Priority Hazardous Substances”. Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) that are produced from NP, are nonionic surfactants, and used in a wide range of industrial activities and various consumer products. In the environment, NPEs degrade to NP. In this study, a substance flow analysis was performed to track the pathways of NP/NPEs in Turkey and to contribute to their appropriate management. All possible sources of NP and NPEs were determined considering production, processing, private use, and disposal life cycle stages. The emissions were calculated for each source considering all the environmental compartments; i.e. emissions to water, air and soil, using production, import-export statistics and emission factors collected from the literature. The results showed that the primary emission flows of NP and NPEs in Turkey, include use of detergents; washing of textiles; and leather, textile and paper-and-paper products industries. A total of 7437 ton NP and 28,920 ton of NPEs are used annually and more than 10% ends up in the environment. Surface waters appear as the main environmental compartment receiving NP/NPEs pollution via wastewater treatment plants. Annually, 456 tons of NP and 2694 tons NPE enter wastewater treatment plants and 88.2 % (340 ton/year) of NP releases and 86.9 % (946 ton/year) of NPE emissions are lost to surface waters. In addition to surface waters, land and air are other compartments receiving NP/NPEs. Major sources to soil and to air appeared as use of pesticides/veterinary medicines and volatilization from wastewater treatment plants, respectively.