Materials flow analysis of major endocrine disrupting industrial chemicals

March 1998
Report on the Umweltbundesamt (German Federal Environmental Agency), UFOPLAN-No. 106 01 076
Winfried Schwarz

The present study examines the materials flow of three substances (or groups thereof) for which endocrine (estrogenic) activity has been demonstrated in vitro and in some cases in vivo: bisphenol A (BPA); dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP); and nonylphenol (NP) or alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEO). The study adresses the production and domestic consumption (for further processing and in final products) of these three chemicals/groups in Germany in 1995, taking account of imports/exports, and also the pathways for release and disposal. The data acquired is used to assess emission paths and volumes of potential environmental relevance. Production volume: BPA 210,000 tonnes, DBP/BBP 30,600 tonnes, NP 23,100 tonnes. Pricipal applications: BPA almost exclusiveley as a pre-product for polycarbonate (70%) and epoxy resins (30%). DBP/BBP as softening agents, two thirds for PVC but also dispersions, paints, adhesives (DBP) and polysulphide sealant et al. (BBP). NP over 80% pre-product for APEO, remainder for phenol resins et al. Emissions: Production sites are not the main factor, but rather products which contain these substances/groups in unconverted form and as additives or else in compounds from which they are readily released (NP from APEO). The annual emissions "identifiable" within the study amount to less then 20 tonnes for BPA. They are estimated at 500 - 800 tonnes for DBP/BBP, and over 200 tonnes for NP. Environmental chemicals with endocrine activity; endocrine disruptor; environmental hormones; bisphenol A; dibutyl phthalate; benzyl butyl phthalate; nonylphenol; alkylphenol ethoxylates