Sales of methylene chloride paint removers for consumer use was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to a report published on March 18, 2019.
According to a final rule issued by the agency, manufacture, import, process, and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers is illegal. The officials of EPA analyzed the health impacts of this chemical and listened to families affected by this, after which they took action to stop the use of this chemical in paint removers intended for consumers.
Andrew Wheeler, EPA administrator said, “Today’s decision reflects EPA’s commitment to ensure that chemicals in the retail marketplace are safe for the American public.” The estimates of EPA shows that around 10% usage of total methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane, is for paint removal products.
This ban was imposed by the agency, as several severe fatalities were reported due to exposure to methylene chloride. Short-term exposure to the volatile chemical during paint and coating removal in enclosed spaces results in dizziness and unconsciousness and can lead to death due to central nervous system depression.
There are various effective and less harmful alternatives available in the market for paint removal. 180 days are given to retail or distribution establishments that have consumer sales, including e-commerce sales to comply with the ban. Moreover, the manufacturers, processors, and distributors were asked to inform retailers and stores about the ban and keep the basic records by the EPA. Furthermore, the agency is soliciting input from the public for a future rulemaking that involves the use of methylene chloride for commercial uses.
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