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Lowe’s targets safer paint strippers

The retailer pledges to remove methylene chloride by the end of the year.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s says it is committed to removing the chemicals methylene chloride and NMP from all paint-removal products globally by the end of 2018.

Of the two chemicals on the removal list, methylene chloride is considered the most harmful – though it’s also considered highly effective in removing paint. The decision to require safer alternatives is a move that had been urged on by various environmental groups and consumer advocates.

An article in the News & Observer reported that more than 60 people have died from methylene chloride exposure in the last 38 years. NMP is linked to miscarriages and stillbirths.

Lowe’s says it is working closely with suppliers to find safer paint-removal alternatives to its customers.

“We care deeply about the health and safety of our customers, and great progress is being made in the development of safer and more effective alternatives,” said Mike McDermott, Lowe’s chief customer officer. “As a home improvement leader, we recognize the need for viable paint removal products and remain committed to working closely with suppliers to further innovate in this category.”

The chemical ban was one of the highlights of the company’s new corporate responsibility report.

“We made great progress in our commitment to corporate responsibility in 2017, including achieving a 2020 goal early by reducing U.S. store carbon emissions,” said Colleen B. Penhall, Lowe’s vice president of corporate social responsibility. “We look forward to building on that momentum as we advance our efforts to meet all of our corporate responsibility goals. We remain committed to using our time, talents and resources to deliver on our purpose and grow in a way that makes our world better and our communities stronger.”

Lowe’s is continuing to phase out other products from its mix: in-stock corded window blinds, neonicotinoid pesticides, formaldehyde, ortho-phthalates and VOC paints.

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