Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA

N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP)

What is N-Methylpyrrolidone?

N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) is a solvent used in a variety of industries and applications, such as paint and coating removal, petrochemical processing, engineering plastics coatings, agricultural chemicals, electronic cleaning and industrial/domestic cleaning. NMP is produced and imported into the United States, with use estimated at over 184 million pounds per year. EPA estimates that approximately 9 percent of total NMP usage is for paint and coating removal products.

Why is EPA concerned?

EPA identified risks posed by NMP when used in paint removers in its final March 2015 TSCA Work Plan Chemical Assessment for N-Methylpyrrolidone: Paint Stripper Use. The risk assessment identified risks to people, particularly pregnant women and women of childbearing age, who have high exposure to the chemical through paint or other coating removal. Acute and chronic risks identified for people who use NMP for less than four hours per day may be reduced by use of specific types of chemical-resistant gloves. However, gloves and respirators do not adequately reduce risks to people who use NMP for more than four hours per day on a single day or repeatedly over a succession of days.

What can I do to avoid exposure?

Paint removal products contain different chemicals, and the potential hazards are different for various products. Each product has specific safety precautions; many of them are listed on product labels. However, there are some general safety steps to keep in mind when using any paint remover.

These safety steps are outlined in recommendations developed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you plan to use a paint remover, or use them frequently, it is particularly important that you follow their recommendations.

For occupational users of paint removers, there are additional recommendations developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

What is EPA doing to address risks from NMP?

  • Current actions:
    • January 12, 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: EPA is seeking comment on both approaches. Public comments on the proposed rule must be received no later than 90 days after date of publication in the Federal Register.
  • Previous actions: