NMP and NEP
CAS Registry Number 872-50-4 (2-Pyrrolidinone, 1-methyl-)
CAS Registry Number 2687-91-4 (2-Pyrrolidinone, 1-ethyl-)
What are they?
- The substances 2-Pyrrolidinone, 1-methyl-, and 2-Pyrrolidinone, 1-ethyl- are industrial chemicals. They are also known as NMP and NEP, respectively.
How are they used?
- NMP is used in industrial applications, as well as in products available to consumers, including paint strippers, cosmetics, and certain food packaging materials.
- NEP has similar uses as NMP, and is considered as a replacement substance for NMP.
- Based on the most recent data, NMP and NEP are not manufactured in Canada, but are imported into Canada.
Why is the Government of Canada assessing them?
- NMP was identified as a priority for assessment through the categorization of substances on the Domestic Substances List (DSL).
- NEP was not identified as a priority through DSL categorization since it did not meet the human health or environmental criteria for that process, but it was considered a priority based on the results of the Identification of Risk Assessment Priorities process in 2015.
- They are being assessed under the Chemicals Management Plan for potential risks to the environment and to human health.
How are Canadians exposed to them?
- Canadians may be exposed to these substances primarily through products used by consumers, such as paint strippers, nail polish remover and body lotion.
What are the results of the assessment?
- The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of NMP and NEP, called a screening assessment.
- Screening assessments address the potential for harm to the general population of Canada and to the environment. More information on types of approaches used to address substances can be found in the Risk Assessment Toolbox fact sheet.
- Whether NMP and NEP pose an ecological risk as a result of potential releases of the substances to the environment was characterized using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach.
- Based on the results of the assessment, the Government of Canada is proposing that these substances are not entering the environment at levels that constitute a danger to the environment.
- The government is also proposing that these substances are not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.
What is the Government of Canada doing?
- The Government of Canada published the Draft Screening Assessment for NMP and NEP on February 4, 2017. This publication is associated with a 60-day public comment period ending on April 5, 2017.
- If the proposed conclusion is confirmed in the final screening assessment, the Government of Canada proposes that no further action be taken on these substances.
- Although NMP and NEP are not considered to be harmful to the environment or human health at current levels of exposure, these substances are considered to have a health effect of concern based on their potential developmental toxicity in laboratory animals. Therefore, there may be a concern for human health if exposure to these substances were to increase.
- Follow-up activities to track changes in exposure and/or commercial use patterns for these substances are being considered.
- Stakeholders are encouraged to provide any information relevant to these substances that may help inform the choice of tracking activity, during the 60-day public comment period on the assessment. This could include information on new or planned import, manufacture or use of the substance.
What can Canadians do?
- The health risks associated with a chemical depend on its hazard (its potential to cause health effects) and the amount of substance to which a person is exposed. NMP and NEP are not presently a concern for the environment or human health at current levels of exposure.
- As a general precaution, Canadians are reminded when using any product, to carefully follow safety warnings and directions and to dispose of the products appropriately.
- Canadians who may be exposed to NMP and/or NEP in the workplace should consult with their employer and occupational health and safety (OHS) representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws and requirements under the OHS legislation and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
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