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.

Replacing an nPB Vapor Degreaser: Commonly Asked Questions

nPB — also known as n-propyl bromide and 1-bromopropane — is not the preferred degreasing solution it once was. Fueling the changeover from nPB vapor degreaser to vapor degreasers that have a better safety profile is evidence that nPB exposure can seriously, adversely affect the health of those who use it. If you use an nPB vapor degreaser, and you have questions about replacing the toxic solvent, the answers below can help.

Why is nPB exposure now considered so dangerous?

Like other toxic degreasing solvents, nPB’s toxicity is established by several years of scientific research. Based on the research, the EPA added nPB to “the list of toxic chemicals subject to reporting under section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 and section 6607 of the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990.”

Does the EPA consider nPB to be a hazardous air pollutant?

As of the date of this blog entry, the EPA has not placed nPB on the official list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). However, as quoted above, nPB is a reportable chemical under the EPCRA, with the EPA having determined that “1-bromopropane meets the EPCRA section 313(d)(2)(B) criteria because it can reasonably be anticipated to cause cancer in humans.”

What are specific health problems that nPB causes?

Health issues from nPB exposure are generally categorized in one of two ways: acute or chronic. Common acute health issues are: dizziness, mental confusion, respiratory distress and temporary paresthesia. Common chronic health issues are: neurological damage, cancer (based on animal studies), permanent paresthesia, and difficulty walking (due to paresthesia).

Will a safer solvent offer the same degreasing power?

The answer depends on which solvent you choose as a replacement for nPB. With that said, there’s a nice selection of safer, environmentally preferred vapor degreasers that offer the same efficacy as nPB. In many cases, former nPB users can simply “drop in” these nPB replacements, and quickly carry on with the vapor degreasing progress, as usual.

Will a safe replacement for nPB cost more than nPB?

Because nPB is relatively cheap to produce, there’s a good chance you’ll pay a bit more for a safe replacement. However, when you consider the financial toll nPB can take on an entity (increased sick days taken, workers compensation claims, chemical injury lawsuits, etc.), paying for a safe nPB vapor degreaser replacement can be the most cost effective option long-term.

Where can I find an nPB vapor degreaser replacement?

Shop-hereWe recommend that you get your replacement from Ecolink for three main reasons. First, in addition to supplying readymade solutions, we accept custom orders. Second, we offer free samples for you to test before you buy. Third, we deal primarily in environmentally preferred and environmentally safe cleaners, making us a great option for your solvent needs going forward.

To inquire about our vapor degreasing solutions, or to place an order, please call us today at (800) 563-1305. You can also shop conveniently online. We look forward to providing you with a safe nPB vapor degreaser replacement.