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The EPA finalizes ban on paint-stripping chemical

Methylene chloride, a chemical widely used to strip paint, has been linked to various cancers.
Michael Regan
Posted at 4:19 PM, Apr 30, 2024

The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a ban on a chemical commonly used to strip paint.

According to the EPA, methylene chloride, a chemical widely recognized for its carcinogenic properties, has been linked to various cancers, such as liver, lung, breast, brain, blood, and central nervous system cancers. Additionally, it poses risks of neurotoxicity, liver damage, and even death.

Under the ban, certain industries will face strict requirements to use methylene chloride, and consumer usage will be phased out within a year, with most industrial and commercial use banned within two years.

Some opponents from the chemical industry, such as the American Chemistry Council, say the agency is overstating the risks and that this chemical is “an essential compound used to produce many products and goods we rely upon every day.” However, the EPA says at least 88 people have died since 1980 from “acute exposure” to the chemical by using paint strippers, even when well-trained and equipped.

“Exposure to methylene chloride has devastated families across this country for too long, including some who saw loved ones go to work and never come home,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the press release. “EPA’s final action brings an end to unsafe methylene chloride practices and implements the strongest worker protections possible for the few remaining industrial uses, ensuring no one in this country is put in harm’s way by this dangerous chemical.”

The EPA provided a list detailing the permissible uses of the chemical under the Workplace Chemical Protection Program. Click here for more information.