N-Methylpyrrolidone (also known as NMP or N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone), is a solvent that is typically found as a colourless liquid. It is a combustible liquid that should be kept away from flames and is rather toxic for the human body.
The average person is most likely to come across NMP as an ingredient in paint strippers, with 9% of total NMP usage related to these products (in the USA).
It is also found in; paints, some adhesives, cleaners, dyes, inks and pesticides.
NMP is a somewhat controversial chemical, as there have been many links to developmental impacts; including miscarriages and stillbirths.
The chemical is on the radar of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to address the serious risks posed by NMP, however progress to restrict the chemical has been delayed due to political pressure from the chemical industry.
The European Union however, added NMP to its restricted substance list in May 2020, and is now banned for manufacture, use and sale when concentrations of the chemical exceed 0.3%.
Possible exposure and symptoms of NMP include:
In the event of NMP exposure to skin; remove all contaminated clothing, footwear and accessories and cleanse the affected area with plenty of soap and water. Contaminated clothing must be washed prior to wearing again. Seek medical attention in the event of irritation.
If NMP fumes have been inhaled, remove the person from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source and lay the patient down – keep them warm and rested. If they find breathing difficult, give them oxygen. If they are not breathing, perform CPR, if you are qualified to do so. Seek medical attention without delay.
If you have swallowed NMP, do not induce vomiting. If vomiting does occur, lean the patient forward or on their left side to maintain an open airway and avoid aspiration. Monitor their condition and seek medical advice.
If eye exposure occurs, flush the eye with plenty of fresh running water without forgetting under the eyelids. Removing contact lenses should be undertaken by a skilled professional. Seek medical attention without delay.
NMP is easily flammable and must be kept away from heat/sparks/open flames and hot surfaces. Fires should be extinguished with water spray/fog, foam or dry chemical powder.
Due to the toxicity of the fumes, this chemical should only be used outdoors or in a well ventilated area. A local exhaust fan should be installed if necessary.
Safety showers and emergency eyewash fountains should be accessible in the immediate area of the potential exposure to the chemical.
PPE including; safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, teflon/nylon gloves (do not use natural rubber or PVC gloves), safety footwear and a PVC apron are essential when handing NMP.