Washington, DC—This morning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its final risk evaluation for methylene chloride—finding unreasonable risk of injury from 47 of 53 uses examined, including the use of methylene chloride in paint and coating removers.
In response, Liz Hitchcock, director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families issued the following statement:
“The findings in EPA’s evaluation are not surprising. Years of study and tragedy have shown the dangerous effects of methylene chloride. Even limited exposure to this chemical has resulted in dozens of deaths. The story of each life lost to this dangerous chemical is heartbreaking. And the longer EPA drags its feet, the more lives will be lost.
EPA recognized the unacceptable danger of paint strippers containing this deadly chemical in January 2017 when it proposed banning these products for consumer and commercial use. However, last year, EPA finalized the ban on these products only for consumer use and refused to restrict commercial uses that have caused numerous deaths.
The time for study and talk is long past. EPA should take immediate action on the danger it has once again recognized in this risk evaluation and finish the job to protect workers. The agency must immediately finalize its proposed ban on commercial use of these products. To wait any longer to protect workers from these dangerous products when EPA has the ability to ban them now is unconscionable and will result in more preventable deaths.”