Nonylphenol found in drinking water across India


  • A study revealed the presence of high levels of toxic chemical nonylphenol in drinking water across the nation.

About Nonylphenol

  • Toxic chemical and a well-known endocrine disruptor associated with a number of adverse effects on human health.
  • UNEP has also designated nonylphenol as a chemical of global concern.

    Nonylphenol found in drinking water across India
    Photo Credit: India Today
  • Commonly used in the production of Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs).
  • NPEs are used as surfactants as well as in day-to-day consumer products such as detergents, wetting agents and dispersants.
  • Released during industrial cleaning processes and from wastewater produced during production of NPEs.

Regulations of Nonyphenol

  • In India, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has set standards for phenolic compounds in drinking water (1 ppb) and surface water (5 parts per million (ppm)).
  • However, at present, there are no standards exclusively for nonylphenols in drinking and surface waters in India.
  • Moreover, no regulations are in place in the country to restrict or phase out the use of NPEs in detergents and other consumer products in order to prevent the release of nonylphenol into the environment, especially water bodies.
  • European Union and countries like US, Japan and China have already acknowledged the dangers of this chemical and have come up with regulations to phase out the chemical in many of the products including detergents for minimising the risks at the downstream level.


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