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EPA aims for partial ban of NMP


Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency wants to ban certain commercial uses of the chemical substance n-methylpyrrolidone and establish worker protections for various others.

On June 5, EPA announced its intent to issue a proposed rule to regulate the chemical, which is also known as NMP.

In a final revised risk determination published in December 2022, EPA said the substance poses unreasonable risk to workers involved in multiple operations through potential short- and long-term inhalation, direct dermal exposure, and vapor-through-skin exposure. Among them:

  • Paint and coating removal
  • Machine manufacturing
  • Adhesive removal
  • Cleaning and degreasing in electronic equipment
  • Use of automotive care products

Under the proposal, EPA would prohibit the commercial use of NMP in products related to automotive care, cleaning and degreasing, metal, and cleaning and furniture care because the agency “believes these uses cannot safely continue.”

The agency is also proposing to ban the commercial use of NMP in antifreeze, de-icing products and certain agricultural chemical manufacturing processes because “these uses have already ceased,” an EPA press release states.

Further, the proposal would allow the agency to create a workplace chemical protection program that sets requirements to prevent direct skin contact as well as mandates a chemical exposure limit and the use of personal protective equipment.

“We’re making great strides in our efforts to protect people’s health from exposure to chemicals like NMP,” Michal Freedhoff, assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution, said 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 will accept public comment for 45 days after the proposal is published.

An EPA webinar offering an overview of the proposal is set for 1 p.m. Eastern on June 20.

UPDATE: This story was updated to reflect the proposed rule being published in the June 14 Federal Register. Comments are due July 15.

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