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EPA to Act on Methylene Chloride

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced May 10 that it has decided to move forward on its original ruling on methylene chloride, a chemical commonly used for stripping paint.

The agency said that, as part of its requirements related to the incorporation of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act into the Toxic Substances Control Act, it is nearing completion of the Problem Formulations portion of a review of 10 specific chemicals and has made a decision on methylene chloride.

USMC / Cpl. Rubin J. Tan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced May 10 that it has decided to move forward on its original ruling on methylene chloride, a chemical commonly used for stripping paint.

The update says that the EPA:

  • intends to finalize the methylene chloride rulemaking;
  • is not re-evaluating the paint stripping uses of methylene chloride and is relying on its previous risk assessments; and
  • is working to send the finalized rulemaking to the White House Office of Management and Budget shortly.

The previous risk assessment that the announcement referred to, took place in January 2017, when the agency proposed prohibiting the consumer and commercial paint-stripping uses for the chemical.

At the time, the EPA said that dangers with regard to methylene chloride include death (due to asphyxiation), liver toxicity, kidney toxicity, reproductive toxicity and certain cancers.

“Some of these health effects result from a very short, acute exposure; others follow years of occupational exposure,” the EPA noted.

The 2017 277-page proposal called for a prohibition on the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution of these chemicals in commerce.

The proposal also talked about restricting the sale of small-volume products and requiring companies to notify retailers and others in the supply chain regarding such prohibitions.

The specified sectors of use of the chemical include:

  • Painting and decorating;
  • Floor refinishing;
  • Automotive refinishing;
  • Civilian aircraft refinishing;
  • Graffiti removal;
  • Renovations and contracting;
  • Bridge repair and repainting; and
  • Marine craft refinishing and repair.

The 2017 review had lumped in another chemical, N-methylpyrrolidone, also a paint-stripping agent. However, last week’s announcement only specifically mentioned methylene chloride.

   

Tagged categories: Chemical stripping; EPA; EPA; Methylene chloride

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