NIOSH and EPA Seek Public Comment on 1-Bromopropane Standard

1-Bromopropane is an organic compound that is sometimes found in manufacturing processes, spray adhesives, dry cleaning applications and degreasing activities. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are looking for public comment on their draft documentation for a recommended standard dealing with exposure to 1-bromopropane.

According to the draft documentation, “Available human data indicate an association between occupational exposures to 1-BP and neurological effects. The results of a 2-year bioassay conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) provide evidence of the ability of 1-BP to cause neoplastic lesions in the lungs, gastrointestinal tract and skin of rodents. Experimental animal studies provide additional evidence of the onset of a wide spectrum of non-cancer adverse health outcomes, including neurological, reproductive, developmental, and hepatological effects, following subchronic and chronic inhalation exposures to 1-BP. “

This means that continued exposure to the substance in industrial contexts could be hazardous to employees, and possibly even carcinogenic. In order to combat this, NIOSH is recommending setting a limit of 0.3 ppm 1-bromopropane.

The document also notes that setting a standard is not in itself a cure-all for hazardous chemical exposures. “To be successful,” it says, “safety and health programs should have strong management commitment, worker involvement, and occupational safety and health expertise. The program should include employee training on the health hazards of occupational 1-BP exposure, workplace monitoring of airborne 1-BP concentrations, and medical surveillance of workers exposed to 1-BP.”

The public can make commentary on the proposed standard through, and should focus on the health and safety implementation proposals as outlined in the draft documentation itself. Given that the standard aims to reduce worker exposure to carcinogenic compounds, the nature of this commentary should likely be more about the ways in which the standard will be implemented rather than about whether or not a limit is necessary.