Chemicals, Regulatory Developments

Addition of Bromopropane to Hazardous Air Pollutant List a Historical First for EPA

The EPA made history on June 18, 2020, when it granted a petition to add bromopropane to its list of hazardous air pollutants.

Chemicals, solvent testing“With this action, EPA is granting, for the first time, a request through the use of petition to add a chemical substance to the hazardous air pollutant list under the Clean Air Act,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a news release.

Bromopropane, also known as 1-BP or n-propyl bromide (nPB), is used in a wide array of processes and products, including agricultural and pharmaceutical products, dry cleaning, spray adhesive applications, and metal- and electronics-cleaning products. Oven-cleaning and degreaser products are a couple of the most common products utilizing 1-BP.

Risks of exposure to 1-BP include adverse development and reproductive affects for women of child-bearing age. Industry workers who experience long-term exposure to 1-BP can experience neurotoxicity; kidney, liver, and reproductive toxicity; and lung cancer, according to the EPA.

The EPA recommends the following steps to reduce exposure to 1-BP:

  • Utilize gloves and eye protection when using these products.
  • Only use in well-ventilated spaces or outside.
  • Check labels—there are many alternatives available that do not include 1-BP.

This is the first addition the EPA has made to the list of hazardous air pollutants since 1990. The original list included 189 pollutants, but several pollutants and categories of pollutants have been removed from the original list over the years, including caprolactam, methyl ethyl ketone, and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (EGBE).

The petitions to add 1-BP to the list of hazardous air pollutants were submitted to the EPA by the Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 2010 and 2011, respectively. After review of the evidence submitted in the petitions, the EPA determined “emissions, ambient concentrations, bioaccumulation or deposition” of 1-BP may harm human health, including causing cancer, as well as reproductive and neurological problems.

Now that the EPA has granted the petition, its next step will be an action to formally add this chemical to the hazardous air pollutants list.