In the present competitive global market, environmental awareness is necessary for each industry in order to keep alive its own prospects, and this will have to be strictly followed from raw-material selection to the waste management of the final finished product. Though the major breakthroughs have already, taken place in the area of the textile wet processing viz. development of non-carcinogenic dyes, application of biotechnology and non-formaldehyde finishing agents, application of biodegradable products, etc there are still unexplored areas such as the application of APEO-based formulations where our proper attention is essential.
The most important APEOs, or alkyl phenol ethoxylates, for the textile industry are NPEO (nonylphenol ethoxylates) and OPEO (octylphenol ethoxylates), due to their detergent properties. About 90% of the produced APEOs are in fact NPEO. The compounds are used in detergents, cleaning agents, or chemicals used for textile or leather production. Toxicological characteristics include their hormone-disruptive properties and the fact that they are toxic to aquatic organisms.
Furthermore, APEOs are very persistent and difficultly degradable in nature. These are all problem areas for wastewater treatment and discharging of wastewater into surface waters.
It was also observed that most of the commercial scouring-aid formulations being used are based on a major portion of nonylphenol ethoxylate condensate products and organic solvents. Manufacturers have tried many formulations of chemical auxiliary but only a few formulations have succeeded in giving uniform and consistent results that were suitable for the production of prepared goods.