D4 and nonylphenol in textiles, plastics

By Jane Kay
Environmental Health News
May 6, 2013

Two chemicals that may act like estrogen – nonylphenol and octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane, known as D4 – were reported in pigments, solvents or stabilizers in synthetic textiles and plastics used in children's products.

Nonylphenol was reported in shoes sold by J.C. Penney Purchasing Corp., Skechers USA Inc. and Warnaco Inc.

This chemical is “produced in large volumes, with uses that lead to widespread release to the aquatic environment,” according to the EPA, which adds that it persists in the environment, accumulates in living things and “is extremely toxic to aquatic organisms.” It mimics the hormone estrogen, and has been found in human breast milk. The potential for human effects has not been researched, but it is associated with reproductive and developmental effects in lab animals.

A bigger surprise to the regulators was D4, part of a class of chemicals known as cyclosiloxanes, used in baby, personal care and cleaning products. D4 was reported in more than 400 products, including teething rings, baby bibs, jewelry, party hats, clothing, soft toys and fancy dress costumes sold by H&M., and dolls and soft toys made by Mattel.

D4 is used in the manufacture of many consumer products, including soaps, lotions, shampoos, detergents, polishes and plastics. Like nonylphenol, it is persistent in the body and the environment, and has been shown in lab studies to act as a weak estrogen, which means it may alter hormones. It causes tumors, reproductive problems and altered organ size in studies of lab animals.

The EPA has expressed concern about the environmental effects of D4 and a related compound, D5, which is not included on the Washington state list.

Both D4 and nonylphenol have been classified by the European Union as endocrine disruptors. Chemicals that mimic hormones could have effects on the developing reproductive system and brains of fetuses and children.

For more information on D4 and nonylphenol in products, search the Washington state database.


Creative Commons License
The above work, by Environmental Health News, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Follow us: 

Recent Environmental Health News coverage