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Chemical in consumer products is banned

The EPA drops the hammer on consumer paint removers with methylene chloride.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule to prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers for consumer use. The EPA points to deaths that have resulted from exposure to the chemical.

“After analyzing the health impacts and listening to affected families, EPA is taking action to stop the use of this chemical in paint removers intended for consumers,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s decision reflects EPA’s commitment to ensure that chemicals in the retail marketplace are safe for the American public.”

Last year in May, Lowe’s pledged to remove from its shelves stripper products with methylene chloride. Other retailers soon followed suit, including Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and Walmart.

“This rule answers calls from many affected families to effectively remove these products from retail shelves and retail distribution channels, providing protection for the American public,” said Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety Alexandra Dunn.

The EPA’s action applies to consumer uses of the chemical, and does not apply to commercial uses. Environmental groups criticized this limitation of the ban, as did U.S Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) “EPA’s action today is a watered-down protection that apparently values industry profits at the expense of public health and safety,” Udall wrote in a statement.

Under the new rule, paint removal products containing methylene chloride will not be able to be sold at any retail or distribution establishments that have consumer sales, including e-commerce sales. Those prohibitions start in 180 days, but many companies are expected to act on the rule sooner.

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