EPA eyes restrictions on widely used paint stripper chemical

By Ellie Borst | 06/04/2024 01:35 PM EDT

The proposal for n-methylpyrrolidone would ban certain uses and impose concentration limits on products.

A paint stripping project

A paint stripping project is pictured. An EPA proposal would set new restrictions on n-methylpyrrolidone, which is used in paint strippers. Russ/Flickr

EPA is weighing a ban on some uses of a chemical toxic to developmental and reproductive health as well as harsher restrictions on its most common use — as a paint stripper.

The agency’s proposed rule would prohibit n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) when used commercially as a lubricant, as an automotive cleaning and degreasing product, and in fertilizers and agricultural chemical manufacturing. It would impose workplace controls, including a concentration limit and mandated personal protective equipment, when used in paints, adhesives and inks or when used to make semiconductors or lithium-ion batteries.

If finalized, the limit would cap concentrations of NMP at 45 percent and require product labels. The European chemicals agency has limited NMP concentrations to 0.3 percent since 2020.


“We’re making great strides in our efforts to protect people’s health from exposure to chemicals like NMP,” Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff said in a statement. “Our proposed commonsense worker protections would keep people safe while also ensuring that NMP could continue to be used, as needed.”