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EPA issues proposed rule that establishes workplace controls on use of n-methylpyrrolidone

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday a proposed rule under the Toxic Substances Act (TSCA) that would limit the concentration of n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) that would be allowed in some consumer and commercial products, establish workplace health controls for its use and ban some uses, according to a press release

An EPA 2020 risk evaluation found NMP causes serious health effects, including miscarriages and reduced fertility, as well as damage to the liver, kidneys, immune system and nervous system, according to the release. 

The solvent is used to manufacture and produce electronics, polymers, agricultural chemicals and petrochemical products. It is used in the production of specialized electronics, such as semiconductors and magnet wire, as well as lithium-ion batteries. It also is found in adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, paint removers, lubricants, automotive care products, degreasers, cleaning and furniture care products, the release says. 

“We’re making great strides in our efforts to protect people’s health from exposure to chemicals like NMP,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff, in the release. “Our proposed commonsense worker protections would keep people safe while also ensuring that NMP could continue to be used, as needed.”

EPA is proposing a NMP Workplace Chemical Protection Program (WCPP) for nearly all industrial and commercial uses. The program would include requirements to prevent direct skin contact with NMP. 

For several occupational conditions of the use of NMP, such as its use in paints, adhesives, inks, coatings and soldering materials, EPA proposes required prescriptive workplace controls, including concentration limits and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). 

The agency is proposing to ban the commercial use of NMP in automotive care products, cleaning and degreasing products, metal products and cleaning and furniture care products. 

The rule lists a number of industries that could be potentially affected. This includes but is not limited to: 

    • Automotive dealers
    • Automotive body, paint and interior repair and maintenance 
    • Automotive exhaust system repair 
    • Automotive glass replacement shops 
    • Automotive oil change and lubrication ships 
    • Automotive parts and accessories stores 
    • Automotive transmission repair 
    • All other automotive repair and maintenance 
    • Motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing
    • Motor vehicle manufacturing
    • Motor vehicle supplies and new parts merchant wholesalers
    • Motor vehicle towing 
    • New car dealers 
    • Used car dealers 

EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for NMP for 45 days following publication in the Federal Register. Once published comments can be submitted by visiting the docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-0744 at the registry found here

The agency will host a webinar on June 20 at 1 p.m. EDT to provide an overview of the proposal. Register here.

All EPA engagement opportunities related to risk management are updated at this link

To stay informed on EPA risk management sign up for email alerts here


Photo courtesy of Skyhobo/iStock.


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