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.