NPB – n Propyl Bromide EPA Review – Envirotech EnSolv Warning

EPA updates SNAP Approval and PEL standards at National Environmental Summit in Orlando FL

More than 400 dedicated environmental professionals from government, industry and academia gathered in Orlando, FL for the 2010 National Environmental Summit

One of the more well attended sessions involved halogenated solvent, nPropyl Bromide, which is increasingly being used as a drop-in replacement for banned or heavily regulated solvents like TCA, TCE, and perchloroethylene. nPropyl Bromide is commonly formulated in metal degreasers, nonflammable degreasers, degreasing solvents and industrial cleaner degreasers. Not surprisingly, as hazard information emerges, we find there are concerns about neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, and carcinogenicity, and Massachusetts has now listed nPB under the Toxics Use Reduction Act.

Among the distinguished panel of speakers, Margaret Sheppard, an Environmental Scientist and team lead for the USEPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy Program (SNAP) Program, presented a dynamic overview on the various ways nPB is currently in use – dry cleaning, vapor degreasing and cold cleaning. She has been reviewing the health and environmental impacts of alternatives for ozone depleting substances since 2000, with specialization in solvent cleaning. She has worked at EPA since 1990 on a number of issues including protecting the ozone layer, reducing acid rain, improving air quality, and assessing risks from radioactive waste and from chemicals in drinking water. Ms. Sheppard earned a B.A. in physics from Wesleyan University and an M.S. in Environmental Planning and Management from the Johns Hopkins University.

Envirotech Ensolv – nPB MSDS review

One of the more alarming concerns highlighted was the wide range of disparity on the personal exposure limits (PEL) recommended by chemical manufacturers. Envirotech’s EnSolv lists: OSHA PEL not established. Enviro Tech International, Inc. recommends a workplace exposure guideline of 100 ppm 8 hour time weighted average (TWA) based on the scientific assessment of toxicological data for the EnSolv mixture, n propyl bromide and other compounds. Based on this data EnSolv is not expected to be a carcinogen. This is being challenged and a more recent update is due later in 2010 or early 2011.

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