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EPA Extends Comment Period for NMP

Thursday, January 2, 2020

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The Environmental Protection Agency announced last month the public comment period for the draft risk evaluation of more than 30 uses of N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) “to give stakeholders more time to review and comment on the draft document.”

EPA says it will use feedback received from the public comment process, along with input from the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals, to inform the final risk evaluation for NMP.

Some Background

In January 2017, the EPA announced that it was considering a ban on the use of NMP as well as methylene chloride.

At the time, the EPA said health effects of NMP include developmental toxicity (e.g., fetal death or decreased infant birth weight), neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, liver and kidney toxicity and reproductive toxicity.

The 277-page proposal regarding the chemicals calls for a prohibition on the manufacture (including import), processing and distribution of these chemicals in commerce.

© iStock / Skyhobo

The Environmental Protection Agency announced last month the public comment period for the draft risk evaluation of more than 30 uses of N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) “to give stakeholders more time to review and comment on the draft document.”

The agency also said at the time that it wanted to restrict the sale of small-volume products and require companies to notify retailers and others in the supply chain regarding such prohibitions, the document notes.

For each of the chemicals, the EPA had identified risks of concern associated with their use in the following specified sectors:

  • Painting and decorating;
  • Floor refinishing;
  • Automotive refinishing;
  • Civilian aircraft refinishing;
  • Graffiti removal;
  • Renovations and contracting;
  • Bridge repair and repainting; and
  • Marine craft refinishing and repair.

One exemption is the chemicals usage in commercial furniture refinishing; the proposal doesn’t cover that application at this time, EPA says.

Chemical Watch outlined the two approaches presented in the proposal with regard to the solvent NMP.

“The first calls for a prohibition on the manufacture, processing and distribution of NMP in paint stripping, with downstream user notification requirements,” the report said.

“The second would instead put in place a set of restrictions to address the risks the substance poses, including: limiting the amount of NMP used in paint remover products; consumer warning labels; and workplace personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements.”

In May 2018, however, the EPA announced that it was moving forward with action on methylene chloride, not NMP.

Then, in March 2019, the EPA issued a final rule to prohibit the manufacture and importing, processing and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers for consumer use.

However, sales to contractors and other professionals will remain available.

That rule went into effect in November, which is when the EPA initially announced the draft risk evaluation of NMP.

What Now

If EPA’s final risk evaluation for NMP finds there are unreasonable risks associated with this chemical under any of the specific conditions of use, the agency will propose actions to address those risks within the timeframe required by TSCA.

This could include proposed regulations to prohibit or limit the manufacture, processing, distribution in the marketplace, use or disposal of this chemical, as applicable, according to the agency.

The preliminary findings of the draft risk evaluation include:

  • The EPA did not find risk to the environment, bystanders or occupational non-users, which included all the conditions of use.
  • The Agency's draft risk evaluation also found "unreasonable risks associated with acute and chronic inhalation and dermal exposure to NMP under a variety of conditions of use. EPA found that workers and consumers could be adversely affected by NMP under certain conditions of use. These initial determinations are based on a draft risk evaluation of the reasonably available information and are not EPA’s final determinations on whether this chemical presents unreasonable risks under the conditions of use. The Agency will use feedback received from the public comment and peer review processes to inform the final risk determinations."
  • Additionally, the draft risk evaluation and the initial risk determinations are not a final action on the Agency's part. "This draft represents the Agency’s preliminary conclusions, findings and determinations on NMP and will be peer reviewed by independent scientific experts. The draft risk evaluation includes input from other EPA offices as well as other federal agencies," wrote the EPA.

The EPA is now accepting comments on NMP until Jan. 21.

   

Tagged categories: Chemical stripping; EPA; EPA; Good Technical Practice; Government; NA; North America; Regulations

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