Safer Cleaning Choices Replace nPB Aerosols
A small premium in the price for worker safety.
Choices are fun. Having lots of choices suggests new ideas and exciting directions. A world full of choices is a world full of promise and potential.
Such is the situation for companies using aerosol cleaners packaged with a chemical called normal propyl bromide, also called nPB. This material is a great cleaner and is affordably priced, but it carries serious toxicity worries.
Many users don’t realize there are safer choices. Let’s take a look at the real options.
Normal propyl bromide is a nonflammable organic solvent based on the element bromine. The fluid has a molecular formula of C3H7Br. It is often used as a replacement for methylene chloride, perchloroethane (“perc”) and trichloroethylene. Bromine is used in a wide variety of industrial applications such as fire retardants, water purification, pesticides and drugs, including sedatives and antihistamines.
A subset of the bromine product range is n-propyl bromide. This is the solvent version of bromine. It also is called 1-bromopropane in addition to other names. To determine if you are using nPB, examine the aerosol can or the safety data sheet. Specifically, look for an ingredient with the Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 106-94-5. If it’s there, no matter what name they give the ingredient, it’s nPB.
David Ferguson, MicroCare product manager for precision cleaners, notes that most end users do not understand toxicity ratings, as they relate to their application.