lunes, 13 de abril de 2015

NPEs surfactants being eliminated from U.S. dairy farms

A concern raised by China is that NPEs may be endocrine disruptors.
Led by China, some importers are demanding new restrictions on residues contained in U.S. dairy products. The latest target is nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE), a compound commonly used in the past in teat dipping.

The growth in dairy exports markets, and since most processors have limited capability to segregate milk or dairy products within their facilities, forced several of them to institute a complete ban on the use of NPEs by their dairy farmer milk suppliers. Over the past few months, several cooperatives art asking farmer to switch iodine dipping for other products without NPEs.

What are NPE’s? NP are surfactants which are widely used in industrial cleaning applications, hard surface degreasers and laundry detergents. NPEs have been eliminated from many household product over the past 20-30 years, primarily because of biodegradation and aquatic toxicity concerns.

On dairy farms, NPEs can be found in external surface cleaners and laundry detergents. There is minimal likelihood these applications would result in NPE residues in milk. It is more probable NPE residues result from clean-in-position (CIP) sanitation applications – although a majority of CIP detergents do not contain standard NPEs because they are high-foaming. NPEs have also been used in iodine teat disinfectants supplied by most teat dip manufactures in the U.S. market.

Despite their drawbacks – skin irritation – they are effective as a low-cost way to solubilize iodine. A 1% iodine teat dip product would typically contain 7%-10% NPE.

A concern raised by China is that NPEs may be endocrine disruptors. This relates to the chemical structure of nonylphenol, mimicking certain hormones similar to estrogen. The potential effects are greatest to infants and young children who consume the highest amounts of fluid milk.

The industry is actively recommending non-NPE alternatives, or reformulating their iodine products. Copper dipping without NPE, presently tested in Chile, should be an excellent option.

Whether required by their dairy processor or not, dairy farmers may want to ask their teat dip supplier whether or not the product contains NPEs, and what the cost difference will be for a non-NPE product. The encouraging news is U.S. dairy producers have viable options, including non-NPE teat dips already on the market. 

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