Sherwin-Williams to Phase Out Methylene Chloride


Late last week, The Sherwin-Williams Company (Cleveland) announced that it will be phasing out the use of methylene chloride in its paint removal products by the end of the year.

The decision comes after a letter was penned to the company last week—by groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Mind the Store—urging Sherwin to “take immediate action to phase out the sale of paint removers that contain the chemicals methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP).”

Sherwin announced the changes via a memo Friday (July 15) from Corporate Communications Director Mike Conway, as well as with a tweet, which said, “Our customers are our #1 priority at Sherwin-Williams, so we are eliminating methylene chloride paint strippers from our stores. We have several effective alternatives available to serve your project needs.”

Conway’s statement detailed that Sherwin only had two paint-stripping products that contained methylene chloride and that they do not have any products on the shelf that contain NMP.

More on Methylene

Industry reaction to the chemicals has heightened over recent years, and last month the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had decided to move forward on an original ruling on the use of methylene chloride.

The EPA said that it:

  • 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 277-page proposal from 2017 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 NMP, though last month’s announcement only specifically mentioned methylene chloride.


Tagged categories: Chemical stripping; EPA; Good Technical Practice; Methylene chloride; North America; Sherwin-Williams

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