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Learning and developmental disabilities groups urge Lowe’s to protect babies from toxic paint strippers

Today a group of leading public health organizations, including the Learning Disabilities Association of America and Autism Society, publicly called on Lowe’s to protect kids from toxic paint strippers. The four national and 23 state learning and developmental disabilities organizations sent a letter to Lowe’s urging the retailer to stop selling paint strippers containing the toxic chemicals methylene chloride (also known as dichloromethane or DCM) and N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP).

The groups warned that parents’ exposure to these toxic solvent chemicals has been linked to a host of health problems for their children, including low birth weight, impaired motor and verbal skills, attention deficit hyperactivity behaviors and increased risk of brain tumors.

The groups wrote:

We are especially concerned with exposures to pregnant women and children from NMP and DCM in paint strippers. During the prenatal period, the developing brain is extremely vulnerable to harm from even low-level exposures to toxic chemicals.[i],[ii] Scientific evidence from multiple studies shows that both men’s and women’s exposures to toxic solvents including DCM and NMP are linked to lasting problems with brain development, cognition and behavior in their children…

Since the EPA is now backpedaling on its commitments to protect the public from DCM and NMP, we ask that you take action now to help protect people’s health and lives, especially those of childbearing age, by phasing out the sale of these toxic products within six months or less. When preparing a nursery, no expectant parent should have to worry that the chemicals in the paint strippers they are using might do irreparable harm to their baby’s developing brain.

For more information, read their press release.

On top of the learning and developmental effects of NMP, the Environmental Protection Agency’s analysis found that it can cause fetal death (miscarriage or stillbirth) from just one day of use.

Our Mind the Store campaign first sent a letter calling on Lowe’s to stop selling these dangerous products in February of 2017. The company has yet to make a public commitment to ban these harmful chemicals.

Two weeks ago, teaming up with the family of a man who died using a methylene chloride-based paint stripper he bought at Lowe’s, we launched a public campaign calling on the retailer to take action.

We thank the Learning Disabilities Association of America, ANCOR (American Network of Community Options and Resources), Autism Society, The Arc, and their state chapters for joining us and publicly calling on Lowe’s to do the right thing.

Through petitions on,, and other coalition partner sites, more than 80,000 people have called on Lowe’s to stop selling these dangerous products over the past two weeks.

[i] Committee on Improving Risk Analysis Approaches Used by the U.S. EPA, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council. 2009. Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

[ii] Zoeller RT, Brown T, Doan L, Gore A, Skakkebaek N, Soto A, et al. 2012. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and public health protection: A statement of principles from the endocrine society. Endocrinology 153(9): 4097-4110.