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Court rejects petition to protect workers from dangerous chemical in paint strippers

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families reacts with disappointment and urges immediate action by EPA


WASHINGTON, D.C.一The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today rejected a petition by Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and other NGOs to ban methylene chloride from paint removal products for commercial uses. The court concluded that “it is prudentially unripe for judicial review at this time” and declined the petition. However, by declining a petition by Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance, Inc. that EPA’s rule be set aside for consumer uses, it also upheld the current ban on methylene chloride for consumer uses.

In response, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families director Liz Hitchcock issued the following statement:

We are profoundly disappointed that the Court declined to require EPA to ban commercial paint remover uses of methylene chloride, leaving workers exposed to this dangerous chemical.  Despite dozens of documented deaths, EPA has delayed action for years.  EPA should act quickly to protect workers by enacting such a ban.”

Methylene chloride is a dangerous chemical that has cost dozens of families their loved ones. In 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed banning methylene chloride from use in paint strippers. In 2019, EPA finalized a ban only on consumer uses and sales of methylene chloride in paint strippers, leaving American workers unprotected. In 2021, EPA withdrew the part of the proposed rule that would have protected workers by banning commercial uses of paint strippers containing methylene chloride. 

If granted, the petition by Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and other organizations would have compelled EPA to ban commercial use of paint strippers containing methylene chloride.

A recent peer-reviewed study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that more workers than consumers die from methylene chloride exposure. 


Safer Chemicals Healthy Families is a Toxic-Free Future program dedicated to achieving strong federal policies that protect the public from toxic chemicals. 


Toxic-Free Future (TFF) is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that advances the use of safer products, chemicals, and practices through science, organizing, advocacy, and consumer engagement to ensure a healthier tomorrow.


MEDIA CONTACT: Stephanie Stohler, Communications Director, [email protected]

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