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FEEDBACK: NPEs are biodegradable

Sir: I was puzzled by the erroneous information in your article on nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) used in pulp and paper processing (Phasing out NPEs: Canadian Pulp and Paper Companies Lead the Way; 1...


May 1, 2000
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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Sir: I was puzzled by the erroneous information in your article on nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) used in pulp and paper processing (Phasing out NPEs: Canadian Pulp and Paper Companies Lead the Way; 101:1, January 2000).

Contrary to the author’s claims:

NPEs are biodegradable — they undergo rapid breakdown during conventional wastewater treatment and continue to degrade in water and soil;

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Environmental monitoring studies in Canada and the US indicate that concentrations of NPE and their breakdown products in rivers and lakes are typically below those that may harm fish and other aquatic organisms;

Numerous studies show that normal exposure to NPEs and their breakdown products does not pose a significant risk to human health.

To help pulp and paper companies respond to the regulatory uncertainty surrounding NPEs, this year the APE Research Council initiated an NPE Environmental Management Program, which is designed to support the continued use of NPEs by promoting widely accepted product stewardship and wastewater treatment practices. We soon plan to introduce this program to the pulp and paper industry in Canada. (For additional information, please contact us at 202-637-9071 or visit our web site at www.aperc.org.)

I hope you take the opportunity to review this exciting new program in a future edition of your publication.

Sincerely,

ROBERT J. FENSTERHEIM

Executive Director

Alkylphenols & Ethoxylates Research Council

Washington, DC