Replacing nPB: Choosing a Replacement in 4 Steps

Since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory agencies on the federal, state, and municipal level have increasingly focused on regulating the use of commercial and industrial solvents that are hazardous to humans and/or the environment. nPB (a.k.a. 1-bromopropane and n-propyl bromide) is a perfect example of one these hazardous solvents.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) considers nPB to be “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” [NTP 2013]. Partly as a result of the conclusion, the EPA added nPB to its toxic release inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals. These moves have set the stage for replacing nPB before it is regulated more aggressively. If replacing nPB is on the to-do list of your company or organization, below are five steps for choosing a replacement.

  1. Search for “Drop-in” Replacements

Replacing nPB without disrupting solvent-based work processes requires choosing a “drop in” replacement solvent that can immediately replace nPB without making significant changes to cleaning operations or associated processes (e.g. solvent storage in relation to flashpoint).

Drop-in replacements for nPB can be acquired in the form of stock solvents that are ready to ship and custom solvents that are designed for unique requirements. If you can’t find a suitable drop-in replacement among readymade solutions, choosing a custom solvent is the right move.

  1. Check Replacements for HAPs

Most commercial and industrial users replace nPB is because the compound is a hazardous air pollutant (HAP) that can cause serious short-term and long-term health impairments in workers. Consequently, it’s imperative to choose a nPB replacement that contains no HAPs, or contains a low level of HAPs that can be addressed through the use of exhaust hoods at work stations, air filtration systems that capture airborne contaminants, personal protective equipment (PPE), etc.

  1. Compare Solvent Prices

If you choose a custom solvent, this step may not apply, as you’ll accept or reject the price of the solvent before it’s actually formulated, and soon agree on a price that meets your budget. On the other hand, if you’re considering stock solutions, comparing solvent prices can be a big money saver. As you would when purchasing another type of product that’s a significant business investment, it’s a good idea to do at least three price comparisons before you buy.

  1. Request a Free Solvent Sample

Last but certainly not least, request a free sample of the nPB replacement you plan to purchase before you actually buy it. The sample should be large enough for you to perform at least one round of solvent-based cleaning (enough solvent to perform a single cleaning cycle with a parts washer, for example). If the replacement solvent works as well as predicted, then it’s time to place your first order.

Find nPB Replacements Here

At Ecolink, we understand that companies and organizations need the cleaning power of nPB minus the dangers of using the solvent. That’s why one of our specialties is replacing nPB with drop-in solutions that have an excellent safety profile and contain no regulated chemicals. If replacing nPB is on your agenda, start the process today by calling us at (800) 563-1305, or use the contact form on our website. We look forward to helping you implement a safer solvent.

How to Replace NPB Aerosols Without Losing Productivity

Also known as 1-Bromopane and n-propyl bromide, nPB is a chemical compound that has been used increasingly for the past 20 years as a solvent for industrial work processes, particularly: aerosol glue applications, asphalt production, synthetic fiber production, and degreasing.

However, since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule that adds nPB to the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals, users of the solvent must file TRI reporting forms that document release and waste management data for the solvent. Ultimately, this means large-scale users of nPB products can no longer use them in quantities required to effectively perform the work processes above, among others.

nPB Replacement and Productivity

Because the U.S. Department of Health’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) finds that nPB is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” all users of the solvent have at least one good reason to replace it. However, for outfits for which nPB plays a crucial role in work processes, one of the greatest barriers to replacement is the temporary, potential loss of productivity that can occur when swapping out one industrial solvent for another.

Is it possible to eliminate a lag in productivity when you replace nPB aerosols? When your company or organization works with an experienced supplier of environmentally friendly and environmentally preferred industrial solvents, the answer is yes. Here is a simplified, four-part version how the ideal replacement process works:

  • The supplier evaluates your solvent needs while nPB is in place.
  • The supplier recommends a solution for nPB replacement.
  • The new solvent is “dropped in” quickly to replace nPB solvent.
  • Leftover nPB is discontinued or used in small quantities until gone.

Because nPB has demonstrated ill effects on human health, discontinuing nPB swiftly after receiving a replacement is the best option. You may not recoup your full investment in nPB if you don’t use your reserve supply. However, considering that financial setbacks that could occur from health problems that nPB exposure causes (i.e, workers comp claims, chemical injury lawsuits, and increased sick days taken) absorbing the loss could actually be the most cost effective option.

Need to Replace nPB Aerosols?  

When you replace nPB aerosols, there are four things you need in the replacement products: solutions that have the same or greater efficacy as nPB, solutions that are available in aerosol form, “drop in” solutions that can be used to immediately replace nPB, and solutions that have a good safety profile for workers and the environment.

Ecolink can provide you with stock solvents or custom solvents that meet all three requirements, and supply them on an extended basis to support business productivity. In addition, by providing free solvent samples, we help you purchase our products with the utmost assurance that they will meet your solvent application needs that nPB once met.

If you need to replace nPB aerosols, give us a call today at (800) 563-1305, or use the contact form on our website. We look forward to helping you replace nPB aerosols without losing productivity.


What Your Company Should Know About nPB

nPB — also known as n-propyl bromide and 1-bromopropane  —  is a chemical compound that’s found widespread use in commercial and industrial cleaning operations over the past 20 years. Aside from its efficacy as a solvent, the spike in use of nPB is largely attributed to the compound’s better safety profile than many of the toxic solutions it replaced.

However, nPB itself is now a marked man, so to speak. Short-term and long-term health problems the solvent cause from acute and chronic exposure, respectively, are the primary factors driving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to include the solvent on its List of Lists, which is sort of like the devil’s black book for the names of bad chemicals.

Effects of nPB on Humans

The effects of nPB on humans are well-chronicled by reputable studies. Short term exposure to the compound can cause acute health maladies such as respiratory distress, upset stomach, and dizziness. The main effect of these ailments is an increase in sick days taken, workers compensation claims if time off is extended, and, of course, deficits in productivity.

Chronic nPB exposure paints a darker picture. Workers subjected to years of nPB exposure can suffer permanent neurological damage, cancer, and, consequently, reduced earning capacity. The price of these outcomes for companies can be multi-million dollar settlements.

nPB Effects on Companies

Former big nPB users are obviously affected by not having government permission to use as much nPB as before, but if they persist in using the compound as before, there can be financial hell to pay. Expect increasing government fines that decimate the bottom line.

If that isn’t enough to prove you need a replacement; after numerous violations, prepare to have your facility shut down until compliance measures are implemented and approved. The measure will be thoroughly inspected on the government’s schedule, so you expect to wait awhile.

Weighted Exposure for nPB

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has set a Threshold Limit Value (TLV) of 0.1 ppm for nPB solutions. This means an aerospace paint stripper containing 0.1 ppm of n-propyl bromide is 0.00001% pure nPB.

Small-time users may be able to get by with such a diluted version of nPB, but large-scale industrial and commercial users are up a creek without paddle, as the saying goes. They need a solvent that has the same power, without toxic risks.

Contact Us for nPB Replacements

Replacing nPB with an eco friendly cleaner has three benefits: Your workers experience less toxic exposure, you can use the replacement in the volume you need, and you needn’t worry about upcoming EPA legislation regulating use of the new solvent.

To get started on replacing nPB with a safer solvent that has the same power, contact us today at (800) 563-1305, or use the contact form on our website. We look forward to providing stock or custom solutions that replace your nPB solutions with no difference to the cleaning process.

nPB as a Carcinogen: Frequently Asked Questions

Also known as 1-Bromopropane and n-propylbromide, nPB is an organobromine compound that’s widely used as a solvent in several industries. nPB works great for the right applications, but it has a major downside: its reputation as a human carcinogen and a cause of other health problems in those who regularly apply it. To help educate our customers on solvent selection, we take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions regarding nPB as a carcinogen.

What evidence shows that nPB is a cancer causing agent?

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) considers nPB to be “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” [NTP 2013]. This assessment is based largely on animal studies in which rodents developed cancers of the lung, large intestine, and skin after being exposed to nPB in the air (i.e., nPB as a hazardous air pollutant). Evidence for nPB as a carcinogen is extrapolated from these studies and “anticipated” to have the same effect in humans.

How much nPB exposure does it take to cause cancer?

The effect of nPB as a carcinogen varies considerably based on factors in the work environment (e.g., the presence or lack of an air filtration system), the user’s genetic predisposition to cancer, and the form in which nPB is used (e.g., as a degreasing solvent in a sealed parts washing system or as an open-air aerosol). Consequently, total avoidance of nPB is the safest policy.

Beyond cancer, what chronic health conditions can nPB cause?

According to OSHA’s hazard alert for nPB, nPB exposure “can damage the nervous system, [with neurological effects appearing in the form of] headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, slurred speech, confusion, difficulty walking, muscle twitching, and/or loss of feeling in arms and legs [Ichihara et al. 2012]. These effects may continue among affected persons even after exposure to 1-BP has ended.”

Will nPB be added to the EPA’s list of hazardous air pollutants?

Considering that the NTP now considers nPB to be an anticipated cause of cancer in humans, there is a good chance that the compound will eventually be placed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) official list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) — also know as the agency’s “list of lists” — that are regulated for commercial and industrial use.

Does Ecolink offer nPB replacements that have the power of nPB?

Yes. We offer a selection of solvents that can serve as drop-in replacements for nPB solvents. In addition, we can create custom formulated solvents that match your unique requirements while still delivering at least the same efficacy of the nPB carcinogen solvents they replace. In some cases, you can implement a safer solvent that delivers even more power than nPB.

By replacing nPB with a safer solution, your company or organization does more than protect workers; it also protects its financial well-being by decreasing the likelihood of workers compensation claims and chemical injury lawsuits. To get started on choosing a replacement for nPB, call us today at (800) 563-1305, or use the contact form on our website. We look forward to helping you implement a safer, eco friendly solvent solution.

N-propyl Bromide Health Effects: The Financial Impact for Companies

When a company that uses n-propyl bromide (a.k.a. 1-bromopropane and nPB) as a cleaning solvent decides to implement an n-propyl bromide replacement solution, there’s usually a very good reason why, as N-propyl bromide works wonderfully for its intended applications. For many companies, that “good reason” is n-propyl bromide health effects that harm workers who apply the solvent or work in areas where it’s applied.

Impact on Company Finances

Negative n-propyl bromide health effects range from temporary health ailments — such as upset stomach, difficulty breathing, and watery eyes — that resolve when exposure is discontinued, to chronic ailments — such as nerve damage, neurological issues, and cancer — that are difficult if not impossible to resolve. The negative impact of nPB on the health of workers can translate to a negative impact on company finances in the following three ways, among others.

  1. Increased Number of Sick Days Taken

Temporary health effects of n-propyl bromide exposure naturally lead to an increased number of sick days taken by workers who are exposed to the solvent. At the very least, the temporary effects can take a person off of the workfloor for the remainder of the day after effects occur. Over months and years, the trend can lead to significant lags in productivity and revenue that offset the financial value of using inexpensive but dangerous nPB solvent solutions.

  1. Workers Compensation Claims

When a worker experiences chronic, negative n-propyl bromide health effects, a workers compensation claim is often shortly to come. From a financial standpoint, when a company is legally required to compensate a worker for lost earning capacity, it essentially amounts to paying the person for not working. Workers comp insurance may pay for most of the outgo; the caveat is that the company’s workers compensation insurance premiums can increase.

  1. Chemical Injury Lawsuits

Chemical injury lawsuits are another common result of chronic n-propyl bromide health effects. In addition to potentially involving a multi-million dollar settlement, a chemical injury lawsuit against an employer could be picked up by the media, and cause damage to the company’s public image. In terms of lost customers and business opportunities, fallout from the damage can prove more costly than the expense of paying for legal services and settling the claim.

Need an N-propyl Bromide Replacement?

N-propyl bromide is a highly efficacious solvent for multiple types of cleaning, but the financial impact of n-propyl bromide health effects can eliminate the financial value of using the solvent in at least three ways: increased number of sick days taken, an increase in workers compensation claims, and an increase in chemical injury lawsuits. Implementing a replacement solvent that delivers the efficacy of nPB without the adverse health effects is the optimal solution.

Ecolink offers nPB replacement solvents in the form of readymade solvents and custom solvents that are tailored to the customer’s unique requirements. For assistance choosing the right nPB replacement for your company’s solvent operations, call us today at (800) 563-1305, or fill out the contact form on our website. We look forward to supplying safer solvents that help protect the health of your workers and, by extension, the finances of your company.