US Restricts Paint-Stripper Solvent After Many Deaths

US Restricts Paint-Stripper Solvent After Many Deaths

The Environmental Protection Agency has outlawed all uses of a lethal chemical frequently used to restore furniture and bathtubs, which has been responsible for scores of deaths since 1980. The EPA enacted a rule on Tuesday that will prohibit all consumer usage of methylene chloride, as well as major industrial and business uses.

According to the EPA, exemptions include uses that are “highly industrialized and important to national security and the economy,” like climate-friendly cooling agents and electric vehicle components.

The EPA has been banning the use of methylene chloride for almost six years after a CBS News investigation prompted three major stores: Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Sherwin-Williams, to consent to remove items containing the compound from their store’s shelves by the end of 2018.

Methylene chloride has been linked to a number of cancers, in addition to this neurotoxicity, liver damage, and direct exposure can be deadly according to the EPA. Since 1980, at least 88 people have died as a consequence of prolonged contact with methylene chloride, more than half of them were refurbishing bathtubs or taking off the paint, the FDA claimed.

The deaths comprised of trained individuals using personal safety gear. “Methylene chloride toxicity has harmed families across this country for a long time, especially some who have seen loved ones go to work and never return,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the statement.

“EPA’s final action brings an end to dangerous methylene chloride activities and imposes the greatest worker protections available for the few remaining industrial utilization, ensuring that no one in this country is endangered by this hazardous substance.” 

The broad restrictions come a year after the EPA recommended a ban, pointing out the well-known and possibly deadly health risks of methylene chloride, which is additionally utilized to produce medicinal products and refrigerants. It also follows the EPA’s decision earlier in this month to outlaw “forever chemicals” in water coming from the faucet.

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