Deadline for using Octylphenol ethoxylates in rapid tests is approaching
Octylphenol ethoxylates (OPE) are now in the Annex XIV of REACH. Why do OPEs feature in this list and what does it mean for lateral flow rapid tests that use OPEs, such as Triton-X?
By: Abingdon Health
What Is The Issue With OPE?
OPEs are endocrine disruptors and 'break down relatively easily into Octylphenols (OPs), which are more harmful and can be very persistent in the environment' (Source: Scottish Environment Protection Agency).
The robust nature of OPs mean they can be transported by aquatic organisms and birds far and wide from the 'original point of release of OPEs'. Therefore, OPEs have the potential to pass to humans via the food chain as well as direct contact when handling a test. If an Endocrine Disrupting Chemical (EDC) passes to humans there is a potential they can:
• alter the reproductive function
• increase incidences of breast cancer
• affect growth patterns and neurodevelopment in children
• change the immune function
Hence the concern surrounding the use of OPEs!
What To Do If Your Rapid Test Contains Octylphenol Ethoxylates?
From 4th January 2021, REACH will allow the use of OPE for research and development (R&D), as an intermediate or in exceptional circumstances.
It's advisable to avoid using OPEs during the research and development phase of manufacturing. The test specification will only have to be reconfigured with a compliant surfactant for market release. In 'exceptional circumstances' this may not be the case, however.
But, in exceptional circumstances you will still need to seek approval from the authorities. Which could be costly and for a limited time period. Further costs and labour time will of course be applicable during the necessary application process for such circumstances.
The logical solution would be to use sustainable surfactants from the outset of assay development or switch to a compliant surfactant in commercially available rapid tests.
How Do You Seamlessly Switch to Using a New Rapid Test Surfactant?
Abingdon Health has documented an approach how manufacturers can lead this process with minimal stress to the rapid test owner. Scroll to the bottom of this page for more information: