November 27, 2019

Ban on Retail Distribution of Methylene Chloride to Consumers Now in Effect

EPA’s ban on the sale and distribution of paint-removal products containing methylene chloride for consumer use went into effect on Friday, Nov. 22. The agency’s regulations also prohibit the manufacture and processing of methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal. All retailers are now prohibited from distributing in commerce—including in e-commerce—any products intended for consumer use that contain methylene chloride for paint and coating removal. The agency is urging consumers to stop using methylene chloride products that they may have already purchased. EPA’s news release notes that “a variety of effective, less harmful substitutes are readily available for paint removal.”

EPA’s final rule to prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers for consumer use was issued in March. The final rule states that EPA has determined that the use of the chemical in consumer paint- and coating-removal products presents “an unreasonable risk of injury to health due to acute human lethality.” The rule does not address commercial uses of methylene chloride. EPA previously said it will solicit input on a future rulemaking that could establish a training, certification, and limited-access program for methylene chloride for commercial uses.

A new draft risk evaluation published by EPA last month identifies “adverse health risks associated with acute and chronic inhalation exposure” to methylene chloride under some conditions of use. The draft document describes how workers, consumers, and bystanders could be adversely affected by methylene chloride use. Occupational non-users, or workers in the general area of methylene chloride use, may also face adverse effects. EPA is accepting comments on its draft risk evaluation until Dec. 30, 2019. More information is available in the docket on