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Possible New PEL For N-PB

March - 2009
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If you're manufacturing, selling, or interested in using normal propyl bromide (n-PB) as a cleaning solvent, you will want to be knowledgeable about a process of regulation happening NOW in California.

California has (or perhaps had) a significant level of industry. More importantly, environmental regulations promulgated in California often later become adopted by the other 49 states (and foreign countries). That's why you might want to be knowledgeable about a meeting to collect information about a new permissible exposure limit for n-PB.

This proposed permissible exposure limit (PEL) will be 5 ppm – lower than the ACGIH value of 10 and the EPA recommendation of 25.

This author believes no open-top vapor degreasing machine made today can meet the 5 ppm PEL. And the ability to meet this PEL with the more expensive vacuum-based machines is problematic.

It may be an overreaction to write that this PEL will ultimately regulate n-PB as being used in solvent cleaning processes. But, promulgation of this PEL is certainly a step toward that end.

The scientific data upon which this PEL will be based upon that collected by the state's Airborne Contaminants Advisory Committee which considered substances for development of this proposal and met between May 2001 and January 2004. Between then and now, little sunlight fell on this topic; nor was any newer data evaluated for production of the new PEL. In late January, the proposed regulation was published and a meeting scheduled for its presumed adoption.

On March 19, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board of the State of California has set the time and place for a Public Meeting, Public Hearing, and Business Meeting in the Costa Mesa City Council Chambers, 77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, California 92626.

Here is where you have an opportunity to speak: "...At the Public Meeting, the Board will make time available to receive comments or proposals from interested persons on any item concerning occupational safety and health..." as "...the Board will make time available to receive comments or proposals from interested persons on any item concerning occupational safety and health....".

You can find links about the proposed rulemaking on our website in the forums at www.finishingtalk.com/community

For a friendly human contact try Bob Barish whose email address is Bbarish@dir.ca.gov, and whose non-electronic contact information are Bob Barish, Cal/OSHA Research & Standards Unit, P.O. Box 420603, San Francisco, CA  94142-0603; (510) 286-7001; and FAX  286-7037.