EPA Issues Ruling on Methylene Chloride Paint Removers

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (Washington, DC, USA) recently issued a final rule that bans the manufacture, processing, and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers sold to the general public.

“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,” says 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.”

 The EPA’s paint-stripper rule was put in place after a number of fatalities were linked to acute exposure to the chemical. Side effects of methylene chloride exposure include dizziness, unconsciousness, incapacitation, and nervous system depression resulting in death.

The rule goes into effect 180 days after March 15, the effective date of the final rule, which provides businesses with enough lead time to come into compliance. Once that period ends, retail and e-commerce sales of paint removal products containing methylene chloride to consumers will be prohibited. Violators of the EPA ban could face fines or possible imprisonment.

The EPA recommends consumers refrain from using any paint removal products containing methylene chloride that they currently own. In addition, the agency will pass a final rule requiring manufacturers, processors, and distributors to inform retailers and other supply chain entities of the new EPA prohibition on methylene chloride-based products and to keep basic records of the chemical’s use.

The agency is currently soliciting public input over the next 60 days on a program that would institute training and certification for commercial uses of methylene chloride. For more information, visit www.regulations.gov.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.gov