Octylphenol, nonylphenol and their ethoxylates

Basic legal sources

1. Key elements

The restriction on the placing on the market and the use of nonylphenol (NP) and its ethoxylates (NPE) in Switzerland are identical to those contained in Directive 2003/53/EC on the 26th amendment of Directive 76/769/EEC. In contrast to the EU, the bans on the closely structurally related octylphenol (OP) and its ethoxylates (OPE) have been extended. NPE should not be replaced by the equally environmentally hazardous OPE. The placing on the market of NP and NPE as well as OP and OPE is prohibited for following types of product if they contain 0.1 % or more of these substances:

  • textile detergents
  • detergents derived from waste water
  • cosmetics
  • textile, leather and metal working products
  • agents for the manufacture of pulp and paper
  • agricultural teat-dips that contain these substances as emulsifiers
  • biocide products and plant protection products that contain the substances as co-formulants
  • also prohibited is the use of the substances for purposes that the product types serve.

2. Deadlines

The bans apply to products containing NP/NPE from 1.8.2006 and to products containing OP/OPE from 1.8.2008. Exceptions are OPE and NPE as co-formulants in biocide products or plant protection products where placing on the market was authorised before 1.8.2005 and which are permitted until the expiry of such authorisation.

3. Exemptions

The bans do not apply to:

  • spermicides
  • textile and leather processing products if no OPE or NPE is released into waste water when they are used, or if the organic fraction is completely removed from the process water prior to the biological waste-water treatment.
  • metal working products when used in closed and controlled systems, provided the cleaning liquid is recycled or incinerated.

Last modification 04.08.2021

Top of page