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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases draft methylene chloride risk evaluation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft methylene chloride risk evaluation that addresses commercial paint stripper uses. In January 2017, EPA proposed to ban commercial paint stripper uses, but it later removed these uses from its March 2019 final rule, leaving workers unprotected from harm.

Statement from Liz Hitchcock, Director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, on today’s methylene chloride risk evaluation from the EPA:

“The EPA’s draft methylene chloride risk evaluation released today reaches very similar conclusions as its 2014 risk assessment: that workers using these products face unreasonable risks from both acute effects—like asphyxiation and death—and long-term effects like cancer.

EPA has now reaffirmed determinations of risk that it made 5 years ago – once again raising the obvious question of why EPA is still failing to protect workers against a serious, well-documented threat to their health.

By removing commercial paint stripper uses from its final rule and including them in this risk evaluation, EPA is on a path to delay any regulatory action for several more years – with no apparent rationale other than allowing industry to continue to sell dangerous products for which there are known replacements.

How many times does EPA have to recognize the same hazards before it finally does its job and protects workers from these dangerous products? EPA should finalize its ban on commercial paint stripper uses immediately.”

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