This fact sheet summarizes an EPA regulatory action
concerning phase-out of ozone depleting substances (ODSs):
On May 30, 2007 EPA listed N-propyl bromide (nPB) as an acceptable alternative to ODSs in metal, precision, and electronics cleaning.Â nPB is a non-flammable, brominated solvent.
It has solvency characteristics somewhat similar to that to the late-lamented
1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), a compound that was phased out of production in
the mid-1990â€™s because it destroys stratospheric ozone (upper ozone, good ozone
â€“ not smog producing ozone).
The nPB determination was made as part of EPAâ€™s Significant New Alternatives
Policy (SNAP) program.Â The SNAP
program implements Section 612 of the Clean Air Act, which requires EPA to
evaluate replacements for ODSs to ensure they minimize risk to human health and
the environment. Â A number of substances
â€“ including methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, and trichloroethylene â€“ have
previously been listed as acceptable under the SNAP program. Â A comprehensive list of replacements is
available on EPAâ€™s
SNAP web site.
Nearly four years after being proposed for SNAP approval,
the EPA found n-propyl bromide (nPB) to be an acceptable substitute when used
as a solvent in industrial equipment for metals cleaning, electronics cleaning,
or precision cleaning.Â N-propyl bromide
has become a popular solvent for use in vapor degreasers (Figure 1).Â Concerns over employee exposure and the
possible health concerns of working with n-propyl bromide is one of the reasons
that have resulted in the long road to a proposed SNAP listing for this
solvent.Â Until the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA) develops a mandatory workplace exposure
standard, the EPA recommends that users of n-propyl bromide limit their
exposure to 25 parts per million (ppm) over an eight-hour time-weighted
EPAâ€™s decision to list nPB as acceptable in cleaning
applications applies to use of the solvent in metal, precision, and electronics
cleaning equipment, and does not apply to its use in hand wipe and
aerosol cleaners. Also, the decision also does not apply to drycleaning
As with any aggressive solvent, you should use nPB prudently
to minimize worker and community exposure; and you should educate your
employees in appropriate chemical management.Â
Associated solvent cleaning equipment should be well-controlled and
Fact Sheet on
May, 2007 Proposed and Final Rules on n-Propyl Bromide.Â Commonly asked questions about EPAâ€™s regulations
on the appropriate use of nPB, such as how EPA is proposing that nPB may be
used, exposure levels EPA considers potentially protective, and more.
of Safer Cleaning Alternatives in the Aerospace, Printing, and Coating
Industries (PDF, 60 pp., 3.8MB). This report by the Institute for Research
and Technical Assistance describes successful, environmentally-friendly,
cost-effective cleaners that can remove adhesives, coatings, and inks.
Answers about 2007 Final and Proposed Regulations for n-Propyl Bromide (nPB).
& Answers about Solvent Substitutes