Nonoxynols are mixtures of nonionic surfactants used as detergents, emulsifiers, wetting agents, defoaming agents. The most commonly discussed compound nonoxynol-9 is a spermatocide, formulated primarily as a component of vaginal foams and creams. Nonoxynol was found to metabolize into free nonylphenol when administered to lab animals.  Arkopal-N60, with on average 6 ethylene glycol units is a related used surfactant.
Concerns about the environmental impact of these compounds has increased since the 1990s. These surfactants have a mild to medium estrogenic function. Consequently, this class of detergents has been effectively restricted for commercial "down-the-drain" applications in Europe, and these compounds are no longer used by U.S. laundry manufacturers.
A 2011 investigation found residual levels of nonylphenol ethoxylates in samples of clothing from 14 brands sold in the U.S., including Adidas, Uniqlo, Calvin Klein, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lacoste, Converse and Ralph Lauren. 
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- "Going green", cover story in chemical and Engineering Letters, vol. 85, No. 5, January 2007
- Heimbuch, Jaymi (2011-08-23). "Big-Brand Clothing Found Laced with Toxic Chemicals". TreeHugger. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
- "Dirty Laundry 2: Hung Out to Dry | Greenpeace Africa". Greenpeace.org. 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
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