An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA

Risk Management for Alkylpyrrolidones

What are alkylpyrrolidones?

Alkylpyrrolidones are a group of organic chemicals with cyclic amides. They are generally liquid at low temperatures and frequently are used as solvents. This group includes the chemicals N-ethylpyrrolidone (NEP), N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), and N-isopropylpyrrolidone (NiPP).

Alkylpyrrolidones such as NEP are used as chemical reactants, in silicone seal remover, coatings, consumer and commercial paint primer, and adhesives. NMP is used in consumer and commercial paint and coating removers, adhesive removers, leather cleaners, and as a chemical reactant. EPA is not aware of current uses of NiPP.

Why is EPA concerned?

EPA is concerned about the potential risk from exposure, including exposure of pregnant women, to alkylpyrrolidones. For example, EPA assessed the risks from NMP (an alkylpyrrolidone) use in paint and coating removal and identified risks for developmental toxicity, including low birthweight and fetal death. Read more about EPA’s assessment of NMP use in paint and coating removal.

NEP, another alkylpyrrolidone, is an organic solvent that could be used as a replacement for NMP because of its similar solvent properties and very similar chemical structure. NiPP is also structurally similar to NEP and NMP. Given the structural similarity of these chemicals to NMP, their similar physical-chemical properties, and the toxicity associated with NMP, EPA is concerned about these chemicals.

What is EPA doing?

  • Current actions
    • November 17, 2016: EPA proposed a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) to require manufacturers to notify the Agency before manufacture or processing of new uses in consumer and industrial products containing two alkylpyrrolidones, including use as a paint remover. The two alkylpyrrolidones are NEP and NiPP. This SNUR would require manufacturers (including importers) and processers of NEP and NiPP to notify EPA at least 90 days before starting or resuming new uses of these chemicals in any products. This will provide EPA the opportunity to review the new use and make a determination regarding potential risk. EPA will accept comments on the proposed rule for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.
  • Related actions
    • Use of N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) in Paint and Coating Removal — EPA is initiating a rulemaking under section 6 of TSCA to address the risks presented by NMP in paint and coating removal. EPA identified risks associated with commercial and consumer paint and coating removal uses of NMP and another chemical, methylene chloride. Section 6 of TSCA provides authority for the EPA to ban or restrict the manufacture (including import), processing, distribution in commerce, and use of chemicals, as well as any manner or method of disposal of chemicals.