Dry Cleaning Agent 1-BP Causing Neurological Illness

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that 1-Bromopropane (1-BP) (n-propyl bromide),  a solvent increasingly used as a substitute for ozone-depleting chloro-fluorocarbons and similar regulated compounds, has been reported to cause neurological illness. 1-BP is used in vapor and immersion degreasing operations and other manufacturing processes, and as a solvent in industries using aerosol-applied adhesives.

Two cases of illness occurring in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have been reported, In NJ a worker in a cleaning facility, following the use of 1-BP, reported "...unusual fatigue and headaches and developed arthralgias, visual disturbances (difficulty focusing), paresthesias, and muscular twitching."

NIOSH had previously reported that some workers developed adverse problems in use of this product. In 2006 it made suggestions to reduce exposure.The CDC has made the following recommendation, "....Clinicians and public health officials should be alert to potential adverse health effects from exposures to 1-BP in industries where such use might increase, such as the dry cleaning industry, and in workplaces where 1-BP use might be more established. A thorough occupational history always should be part of the clinical evaluation of persons who have unexplained or onset of nonspecific neurologic symptoms. Exposure to electronics cleaning solvents or dry cleaning solvents should prompt a more through inquiry concerning exposure to 1-BP. In the evaluation of a worker with occupational exposure to 1-BP and neurologic abnormalities, diagnosis of 1-BP poisoning is suggested by an elevated urinary or serum bromide concentration and a negative serum anion gap. Findings of potential 1-BP poisoning in a potentially exposed worker should prompt removal of the worker from the exposure while an evaluation of workplace exposures is conducted by a qualified professional."

CDC Announcement
Neurologic Illness Associated with Occupational Exposure to the Solvent 1-Bromopropane --- New Jersey and Pennsylvania, 2007--2008
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5748a2.htm?s_cid=mm5748a2_x