EPA Bans Methylene Chloride for Consumer Use
On March 27 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule in the Federal Register to ban the use of methylene chloride in paint removers for consumer use.  The final rule, issued under section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), will prohibit the manufacture, import, processing, and distribution of the chemical in consumer paint and coating removal. This ban comes two years after the EPA completed a proposed rule on methylene chloride on January 19, 2017.

A Little Background
Methylene chloride, also called dichloromethane or DCM, is a solvent widely used in paint and coating removal products, plastic processing, metal cleaning, adhesives, pharmaceuticals, chemical processing, and other commercial and consumer use applications. According to the EPA, short-term exposures to methylene chloride fumes can cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, and even death.

In the January 2017 proposed rule, EPA moved to prohibit the chemical as it stated that its use in consumer paint and coating removal presented an “unreasonable risk of injury to health.” Additionally, the agency proposed to regulate the chemical for certain commercial uses; however, the final rule does not finalize determinations for commercial uses of methylene chloride. 

What It Means
The provisions of the final rule on methylene chloride in consumer paint and coat removal:
  • Prohibit consumer uses and retail distribution of methylene chloride for paint and coating removal.
  • Require that manufacturers, processors, and distributors of methylene chloride for any use provide downstream notification of the restrictions of the rule.
  • Require recordkeeping relevant to these prohibitions. 

Paint removal products containing methylene chloride will not be able to be sold at retail or distribution establishments that have consumer sales, including e-commerce sales. These prohibitions start 180 days after the effective date (May 28, 2019) of the final rule, which provides time for establishments selling this chemical to consumers to come into compliance with EPA’s ban.  

The ban does not, however, cover commercial sales of the chemical to industry as the agency signaled it intends to further evaluate risk management for commercial uses. The EPA is seeking comments regarding potential training, certification, and limited access program as risk-management options for commercial uses of methylene chloride. 

Learn More
Contact our professionals with questions about the EPA’s methylene chloride final rule and which steps you should be considering now.

Andrew Pawlisz, D.A.B.T.
Senior Program Specialist, Toxicology
[email protected]

Rajib Sinha, P.E.
Regional Initiatives Manager
[email protected]

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