What Is nPB?

“nPB” is an abbreviation for “Normal Propyl Bromide” or “1-bromo-propane” indicated by the CAS #‎106-94-5 on Safety Data Sheets.  It replaced ozone depleting Freon and 1-1-1 Trichloroethane.

It is a relatively inexpensive, nonflammable, versatile chemical that removes many types of contamination, such as oils, grease and fluxes. It was formerly used in aerosol cleaners, but due to environmental restirctions, is limited to use as a industrial cleaner inside vapor degreasers today.

nPB (n-Propyl Bromide) has been widely used as an effective and reliable industrial cleaner for metal parts since the 1990’s. But now it is under scrutiny by the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) and ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists).

In 2014, the permissible exposure limit of nPB went from 10 ppm (parts per million) down to just 0.1 PPM. In 2018, the EPA added nPB to its TOSCA (Toxic Substance Control Act) list. In August, 2020 the EPA reported that nPB presents unreasonable risk to human health and should be restricted as a cleaner or degreaser. This report is just a preliminary step for the EPA. It will likely lead to a complete EPA ban on nPB by the end of 2022.

nPB is already sunset or banned in Europe as of July 2020. And many other countries are likely to follow and ban the use of nPB in the near future.

Fortunately, there are a number of nPB replacements that will clean just as well, if not better than nPB inside a modern vapor degreaser. Many of the nPB replacement cleaning fluids provide consistent cleaning quality, cost savings and better throughput. Plus, they have better toxicity profiles making them safer for people and the planet.

Some popular nPB replacements include:

  • Tergo™ Metal Cleaning Fluid An environmentally sustainable azeotropic cleaner engineered for fast, consistent and economical cleaning in vapor degreasers
  • Opteon™ SF80 Cleaning Fluid Opteon™ SF80 combines the high solvency needs for industrial cleaning with and environmentally-friendly low GWP (Global Warming Potential)
  • Other custom formulations and pending prototype currently in development may also be available