Phaseout of HCFC-141b
VOC Regulations – The Next BIG Thing
SNAP Status of NPB
Phaseout of HCFC-141b
Efffective January 1, 2003, HCFC-141b, (1,1-dichloro-1-fluoroethane – CAS# 1717-00-6), is no longer being produced or imported into the United States.

EPA currently lists HCFC-141b as unacceptable for use in all sectors except for very specific aerosol uses. The exemptions to the 141b ban under Clean Air Act section 610 include use for specific medical devices, aircraft maintenance, mold release agents, spinnerettes, document preservation sprays, photographic equipment, and wasp and hornet sprays used near high-tension wires.

Users who are still eligible to use HCFC-141b under the above exemptions now face a serious challenge. None of the available replacements offer the same performance characteristics as 141b. From now on, solvent users will be confronted with a series of choices and tradeoffs. While it is clear that every user will be able to identify one or more alternatives, we are clearly entering another period of readjustment and process change for industrial cleaning. Today we are working proactively with our customers to insure that their transition away from HCFC-141b is as smooth as possible.

Ecolink’s Environmentally Preferred Alternatives
Learn about Ecolink’s replacement strategies for HCFC-141b

Technical Notes on HCFC-141b Phaseout
Additional information and technical links regarding phaseout
VOC Regulations – the next BIG thing
VOC Regulations, often modeled after the California Air Resources Board (CARB), are springing up around the Nation. Many other states are presently enacting new rules and regulations as part of their Clean Air Act programs.

VOC regulations place severe limitations on the emission of photochemically reactive solvents (also called VOCs). VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds are generated through the release of common industrial solvents such as IPA, TCE and MEK. VOCs are a precursor to low-level ozone, which is one of the main ingredients in smog. VOCs are most often defined as any material containing more than one atom of carbon that can volatilize or evaporate into the air. This overly broad definition (which is occasionally, but not always, qualified in local air quality regulations) is precisely why VOC regulations present a problem for industrial solvent users.
SNAP Status of NPB
EPA issued a proposed rule on June 3, 2003 . EPA is proposing to list n-propyl bromide (nPB) as an acceptable substitute for ozone-depleting substances (ODSs), subject to use conditions, in the solvent cleaning sector and aerosol solvents and adhesive end uses. While we find that nPB has a short atmospheric lifetime and low ozone depletion potential when emitted from locations in the continental U.S., the Agency cautions that significant use of nPB closer to the equator poses significant risks to the stratospheric ozone layer. Further, if workplace exposure to nPB is poorly controlled, it may increase health risks to workers. In the interim, until the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) develops a mandatory workplace exposure limit under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Agency recommends that users of nPB adhere to an acceptable exposure limit of 25 parts per million (ppm) over an eight-hour time-weighted average.

EPA is proposing to list nPB as an acceptable substitute for chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-113, hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141b, and methyl chloroform when used in aerosol solvent and adhesive end uses, subject to the condition that nPB used in these end uses not contain more than 0.05% isopropyl bromide by weight before adding stabilizers or other chemicals. We are also proposing to list nPB as an acceptable substitute for CFC-113 and methyl chloroform in general metals cleaning, electronics cleaning, and precision cleaning, subject to the condition that nPB used in these end uses not contain more than 0.05% isopropyl bromide by weight before adding stabilizers or other chemicals.

The public comment period on this proposal was from June 3, 2003 through August 4, 2003.

After considering the public comments, EPA will prepare a final rule in consultation with other parts of the government. The timing of the final rule will depend on the number and complexity of the issues raised in public comments.

EPA source: