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Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA

Risk Management for N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP)

Currently, N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) is undergoing risk evaluation under amended TSCA. In November 2019, EPA published a draft risk evaluation for public comment and peer review. EPA will incorporate comments and feedback in issuing the final risk evaluation. If EPA’s final risk evaluation for NMP finds unreasonable risks associated with this chemical under specific conditions of use, the Agency will propose actions to address those risks within the timeframe required by TSCA.

Learn more about EPA’s efforts to evaluate the risks of NMP.

On this page:

What is N-Methylpyrrolidone?

NMP, also called N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, or 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, is a chemical that is widely used during the manufacture and production of polymers, pharmaceuticals, agrichemicals and petroleum products. Information from the 2016 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) for NMP indicates the reported production volume is more than 160 million lbs/year (manufacture and import).

Why is EPA concerned?

In the draft risk evaluation for NMP, EPA has made a preliminary determination that NMP does not present risks to the environment, bystanders, or occupational non-users. Additionally, the draft risk evaluation discusses how workers and consumers could be adversely affected by NMP under certain conditions of use. These initial determinations may change as EPA's evaluation becomes more refined through the public comment and peer review processes. Learn more about EPA’s risk evaluation efforts for Methylene Chloride.

What can I do to avoid exposure?

For any chemical product, EPA strongly recommends that users carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label and on the safety data sheets. Some labels may not state that NMP is an ingredient in the product formulation. Other labels state that the product should be used only with appropriate protective gloves. Additionally, safety data sheets developed by the manufacturer remind users to only use the product in well-ventilated areas and, if they notice a strong odor or experience dizziness, the users should stop and leave the area immediately.  

Consumers wishing to avoid exposure should ask retailers if products contain NMP and consider not using products that do contain NMP. Consumers also can choose to not use products where they do not know the active ingredients.

Workers using NMP products should continue to follow label instructions and applicable workplace regulations and should properly use appropriate personal protective equipment such as protective gloves.

View a summary of the types of personal protective equipment, including gloves, that can reduce exposure to workers and consumers using NMP.

What is EPA doing?

Prior to releasing the draft risk evaluation for NMP in November 2019, EPA took the following actions.

  • January 19, 2017 -- EPA issued a proposed rule under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, to regulate NMP and methylene chloride in paint and coating removal. EPA is proposing two approaches for regulating NMP. One approach would prohibit the manufacture (including import) processing, and distribution in commerce of NMP when used as a paint remover, as well as require various notification measures of the restrictions to downstream processors and users. The other approach includes a combination of requirements to address unreasonable risks to workers and consumers, including limiting the amount of NMP in paint removal products, providing warning labels for consumers, and requiring commercial users to have worker protection programs in place, including specialized gloves, other equipment and hazard communication. In addition, EPA is proposing to exempt certain national security uses of methylene chloride and NMP from the requirements of this rule. Upon publication in the Federal Register, the proposed rule and supporting documents will be in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0231 available at: https://www.regulations.gov/. EPA is seeking comment on both approaches. EPA extended the comment period for this proposed rule. Public comments on the proposed rule must be received no later than May 19, 2017.
  • Risk Assessment: EPA identified the risks posed by NMP when used in paint removers in a final risk assessment released in 2015. This final assessment followed an extensive process of public drafts and peer review. Learn more about this and the status of other TSCA Work Plan Chemical Assessments.
  • In 2012, EPA identified NMP as a TSCA Work Plan Chemical for assessment. Learn more about the TSCA Work Plan. The TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessment helps focus and direct the activities of EPA’s Existing Chemicals Program.