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1-bromopropane exposure

What is the potential risk?

Workers using products that contain 1-bromopropane may inhale aerosols or vapours, or absorb it through their skin, and are at risk of health effects due to overexposure.

1-bromopropane may also be called n-propyl bromide or nPB.

1-bromopropane is increasingly being used in a variety of industrial applications as an alternative to ozone-depleting solvents, such as perchloroethylene (PERC) and trichloroethylene. Products containing 1-bromopropane include dry cleaning and vapour degreasing solvents, precision cleaning aerosol sprays, and adhesive sprays. These products are available in Canada, and may be used in B.C. workplaces that perform dry cleaning, vapour degreasing, mechanical or electronic precision cleaning, or furniture manufacturing activities.

Acute exposure to 1-bromopropane is associated with irritation of the eyes, nose, throat or respiratory tract. Long-term exposure has been shown to cause nerve damage (tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain in the extremities), reproductive effects, and liver damage. In instances of high exposure, neurological symptoms may appear as soon as two days after initial exposure and persist for years after.

What industries may be at risk?

  • Furniture manufacture, refinishing, or restoration
  • Commercial cleaning
  • Dry cleaning

How can I reduce the risk in my workplace?

As an employer, you need to know if there is the potential for the risk identified in this advisory to be present in your workplace. It’s your responsibility to regularly inspect your workplace, and to ensure that your safety procedures and practices control the risk. The following information highlights some of the sections of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation and Guidelines that are most relevant to this risk.

When using hazardous products (such as 1-bromopropane) in the workplace, the employer must provide information to workers on the identity, health effects and precautions for the safe use of the products, as per the WHMIS requirements in Part 5 of the Regulation.

Sections 5.54 and 5.55 of the OHS Regulation require that employers implement an exposure control plan (ECP) when:

  1. exposure monitoring under section 5.53(3) indicates that a worker is or may be exposed to an air contaminant in excess of 50% of its exposure limit,
  2. measurement is not possible at 50% of the applicable exposure limit, or
  3. otherwise required by Regulation.

Additional ECP requirements are also specified in sections 5.55–5.59.

Publication Date: Jan 2015 Asset type: Risk Advisory Reference: RA 2015-12