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PBT assessment

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PBT assessment: overall result

PBT status:
the substance is not PBT / vPvB

Nonylphenol is not considered to be a PBT substance.


Several biodegradability studies carried out in accordance with OECD 301B (Gledhill (1999), Staples (2001)) and OECD 301F (Staples (1999), Stasinakis (2008)) confirmed that nonylphenol was inherently biodegradable and readily biodegradable except for the 10-day window, respectively. Together these data indicate that nonylphenol is likely to degrade and is not considered to be persistent (P) or very persistent (vP). Other factors including mixing, adsorption, abiotic processes, and the presence of particular algal and fungal species have been demonstrated to be important influences in nonylphenol degradation in the aquatic environment. Similarly, nonylphenol is expected to degrade in the sediment and soil compartments.


A weight of evidence (WoE) approach has been taken to the determination of the potential for nonylphenol to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms and is described in a separate technical report in Section 13 of the CSA. For the purposes of the risk assessment, the BCF of 896 from the Ekelund et al (1990) study with the fish Gasterosteus aculeatus is used. Results of this study show the BCF of valid fish bioconcentration studies are lower than the REACH bioaccumulation criterion of < 2,000.


Ecotoxicity data for aquatic organisms provided a NOEC value of 0.00127 mg nonylphenol/L for fertility in fish (Watanabe et al, 2017) and the NOEC of 0.001 mg nonylphenol/L for invertebrate growth inhibition. Acute, short-term exposures indicated similar sensitivity between freshwater fish and freshwater invertebrates (LC50 for survival of 0.02 to 0.05 mg nonylphenol/L, respectively). These results meet the T criteria for aquatic organisms.

Likely routes of exposure:

Based on exposure scenarios currently presented, inhalation, dermal and oral routes of exposure are possible. Release to the environment is also considered. However, the exposure scenarios cover the use of nonylphenol derivatives and polymers not within the scope of REACH registration. Considering uses of nonylphenol in the scope of REACH registration, worker exposure via inhalation and dermal exposure can be considered possible, with minimal release to the environment.