August 15, 2019

EPA: "Unreasonable" Risks to Workers Associated with Solvent 1-BP

A new draft risk evaluation published by EPA on Monday identifies “unreasonable” risks to workers associated with the chemical 1-bromopropane under specific industrial and commercial uses. Occupational non-users, or workers in the general area of 1-BP use, also face unreasonable risks under the same industrial and commercial uses. The agency says it found no unreasonable risk to workers, occupational non-users, consumers, and bystanders under other specific conditions of use associated with the manufacturing, processing, disposal, and distribution of 1-BP. EPA further states that 1-BP presents no unreasonable risks to the environment.

According to EPA, 1-BP is used in several industries as a solvent, including in degreasing operations, spray adhesives, and dry cleaning. It is also used as reactant in the manufacturing of other chemical substances.

EPA’s draft risk evaluation makes risk determinations on 25 conditions of use associated with 1-BP, including industrial and commercial uses as a solvent for cleaning or degreasing, in adhesives and sealants, and in cleaning and furniture care products. The agency also evaluated the use of 1-BP in adhesive accelerant, automotive care products, mold cleaning and release products, and electronic products.

A previous draft risk assessment for 1-BP, which was published by EPA in 2016, indicates health risks for workers with repeated and chronic exposures to the chemical, including neurotoxicity; kidney, liver, and reproductive toxicity; and lung cancer. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added 1-BP to the Report on Carcinogens (PDF), a congressionally mandated report that identifies agents, substances, mixtures, or exposures that pose a hazard to people in the U.S. OSHA and NIOSH previously issued a joint hazard alert warning workers and employers of the dangers of occupational exposure to 1-BP in 2013.

EPA is accepting comments on its new draft risk evaluation until Oct. 11, 2019. The Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals—a federal advisory committee charged with providing scientific advice, information, and recommendations to EPA on chemicals regulated under Toxic Substances Control Act legislation—will also review the draft risk evaluation during a meeting that will be held Sept. 10–12, 2019. EPA urges individuals to submit comments on the draft risk evaluation by Aug. 30 to allow the committee time to review them prior to the meeting. Comments submitted after Aug. 30 and before the Oct. 11 deadline will still be considered.

The new draft risk evaluation is the fourth that EPA has published under the amended TSCA legislation. As amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which was signed into law in June 2016, TSCA requires EPA to complete risk evaluations for 10 chemicals, including 1-BP, by December 2019. EPA published its first draft risk evaluation for pigment violet 29 in November 2018. Draft risk evaluations for the solvent 1,4-dioxane and a group of cyclic aliphatic bromide flame retardants, or HBCD, were published last month. The other chemicals set to undergo risk evaluations are asbestos, carbon tetrachloride, methylene chloride, N-methylpyrrolidone, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene.

More information on EPA activities related to chemical risk evaluations is available on the agency’s website.