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Safe, sustainable n-Propyl Bromide and TCE replacement

The use of toxic chemicals like n-propyl bromide (nPB or 1-BP) and trichloroethylene (TCE) in vapour degreasing has become increasingly scrutinised by regulatory authorities throughout the world. Under EU Regulation, Trike’s sunset date took place in April 2016 and it is now banned with the exemption of authorised applications linked to specific companies. nPB's sunset date is scheduled for 2020. With zero ozone depletion potential and low global warming potential, 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids are a safe, sustainable cleaning alternative to n-propyl bromide (nPB) and trichloroethylene (TCE).

n-Propyl Bromide (nPB) safety regulations

Because of worker safety concerns, regulatory pressure is intensifying around nPB, or 1-bromopropane. The list of current/upcoming regulation changes for nPB includes:

nPB toxicity and margin of safety

  • Purple icon of 3 people in safety gear.

    Put the safety of your workers first. In order to use nPB safely in vapour degreasing applications, companies need to reduce worker exposure levels to at least 10 ppm, which is equal to typical vapour degreasing exposure levels. The sunset date for nPB has now been set at 1st July 2020. Existing use of nPB can continue to this time, but companies seeking to invest in a new vapour degreasing system may wish to look at alternative solvents to protect their investment.

    Non-cancer and cancer health risks were identified for workers with repeated and chronic exposure to nPB, including:

    • Neurotoxicity
    • Kidney toxicity
    • Liver toxicity
    • Reproductive toxicity
    • Lung cancer

Time’s up for toxic, ozone depleting cleaning solvents
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE) safety regulations

    TCE is a Class A2 suspected human carcinogen. TCE poses an unreasonable risk to human health including significant non-cancer risks from exposure. Chronic exposure of TCE in vapour degreasing can result in serious adverse health effects. Because of these worker safety concerns, the U.S. EPA has proposed a ban on TCE in vapour degreasing. And in the E.U., it is already banned for use without special permits under Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH).

  • HFC (Hydrofluorocarbon) sustainability regulations

    First introduced in 2006 and revised in 2014, the aim of the F-gas Regulation is to reduce the emission of fluorinated greenhouse gases, including HFCs used in precision cleaning applications. The updated F-gas Regulation prohibits the sale of some HFCs, including HFC-23 from the beginning of 2015, plus a phasing down of all other HFCs to 21 per cent of 2009-2012 levels by 2030. Because HFCs are no longer viable cleaning solvents, it’s time to choose a smarter, safer and more sustainable solvent for your vapour degreasing operations.

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How do 3M Novec Engineered Fluids compare to nPB and TCE?

  • A safer, more sustainable replacement for nPB and TCE

    Typical vapour degreasing exposure is on the limit of the nPB exposure guideline, making it an unsafe solution for this application. Like nPB, TCE has a low exposure guideline. 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids have an average exposure guideline of 200 ppm (molar weighted average of the component 8-hour threshold limit values), meaning they have a 20x higher exposure guideline than nPB and Trike. Under EU Regulation, Trike’s sunset date took place in April 2016 and it is now banned with the exemption of authorised applications linked to specific companies. nPB's sunset date is scheduled for 2020.

    Learn more about using Novec Engineered Fluids for Solvent Cleaning & Vapour Degreasing

    Image is representational only.

  • Bar chart showing exposure guidelines for nPB (0.1 ppm), TCE (10 ppm) and Novec 73DE fluid (195 ppm) along with representational people in safety gear icons.

Cleaning Solvent Comparisons: How does 3M™ Novec™ 72DE Engineered Fluid compare to nPB and TCE?

See the impact of using 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids to replace nPB or TCE with this side-by-side comparison.
  • *The 200 ppm value is the molar weighted average of the component 8-hour threshold limit values. **Margin of Safety in Use = Exposure Guideline / Exposure (assumed 10 ppmv 8-hour time weighted average)

Manufacturing Engineer dropping basket of brass hydrolic line connector parts into a vapor degreaser

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Whether you're looking for an nPB alternative or a TCE replacement, we want to make your transition to a new cleaning solvent as simple as possible. With a range of Novec fluids to choose from, a product sample or cleaning trial could help you find the best Novec solution for your needs.

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