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NEW RECOMMENDED EXPOSURE LIMITS FOR n-PROPYL BROMIDE

The Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories (CCIL) has advocated against of the use of solvents for asphalt extraction testing in our laboratories, primarily due to the health and safety concerns associated with the exposure of laboratory technicians to these solvents. You will recall that in 2010, the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario (MTO) mandated the use of n-Propyl Bromide (nPB or 1-bromopropane) rather than trichloroethylene (TCE) for quality assurance and referee laboratories. Recently, MTO has revised the LS-282 test procedure to allow for the laboratory to make a choice as to which solvent they will use for extractions, in accordance with the individual firm’s health and safety policy.

Recently, MTO has advised us that the Ministry of Labour (MOL) has proposed a change to the occupational exposure limit for 1-bromopropane (nPB) from a time-weighted average of 10 ppm (based on an 8 hour workday) down to a level of 0.1 ppm. This proposal is based on the 2014 recommendation of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).

This proposed reduction to 1% of the previous exposure limits is a clear indication of the health risks associated with the use of nPB. These recommended limits will be very difficult for laboratories to maintain, and at these levels, a strict monitoring program in the laboratory will likely have to be in force, to ensure compliance with these thresholds. We recommend that all laboratories using solvents undertake a review of their operations to determine which solvent best suits their needs in ensuring the safety of personnel.

More information can be found on the Ministry of Labour website, as follows:

· http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/about/consultations/oels/index.php

· http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/about/consultations/oels/table.php

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