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Colorless liquid that emits a poisonous vapor recognized to trigger liver most cancers and reproductive issues banned from use in paint stripper

The Environmental Safety Company mentioned Tuesday it has finalized a ban on shopper makes use of of methylene chloride, a chemical that’s extensively used as a paint stripper however is understood to trigger liver most cancers and different well being issues.

The EPA mentioned its motion will defend People from well being dangers whereas permitting sure industrial makes use of to proceed with sturdy employee protections.

The rule banning methylene chloride is the second threat administration rule to be finalized by President Joe Biden’s administration below landmark 2016 amendments to the Poisonous Substances Management Act. The primary was an motion final month to ban asbestos, a carcinogen that kills tens of 1000’s of People yearly however continues to be utilized in some chlorine bleach, brake pads and different merchandise.

“Publicity to methylene chloride has devastated households throughout this nation for too lengthy, together with some who noticed family members go to work and by no means come dwelling,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan mentioned in an announcement. The brand new rule , he mentioned, “brings an finish to unsafe methylene chloride practices and implements the strongest employee protections attainable for the few remaining industrial makes use of, making certain nobody on this nation is put in hurt’s approach by this harmful chemical.”

Methylene chloride, additionally referred to as dichloromethane, is a colorless liquid that emits a poisonous vapor that has killed no less than 88 employees since 1980, the EPA mentioned. Lengthy-term well being results embody a wide range of cancers, together with liver most cancers and lung most cancers, and harm to the nervous, immune and reproductive programs.

The EPA rule would ban all shopper makes use of however enable sure “vital” makes use of within the navy and industrial processing, with employee protections in place, mentioned Michal Freedhoff, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Workplace of Chemical Security and Air pollution Prevention.

Methylene chloride will proceed to be allowed to make refrigerants as a substitute for different chemical substances that produce greenhouse gases and contribute to local weather change, Freedhoff mentioned. It additionally shall be allowed to be used in electrical automobile batteries and for vital navy features.

“The makes use of we predict can safely proceed (all) occur in subtle industrial settings, and in some instances there aren’t any actual substitutes accessible,” Freedhoff mentioned.

The chemical trade has argued that the EPA is overstating the dangers of methylene chloride and that satisfactory protections have mitigated well being dangers.

The American Chemistry Council, the trade’s high lobbying group, referred to as methylene chloride “a vital compound” used to make many merchandise and items People depend on daily, together with paint stripping, pharmaceutical manufacturing and metallic cleansing and degreasing.

An EPA proposal final 12 months might introduce “regulatory uncertainty and confusion” with current publicity limits set by the federal Occupational Security and Well being Administration, the group mentioned.

The chemical council additionally mentioned it was involved that the EPA had not absolutely evaluated the rule’s impacts on the home provide chain and will find yourself prohibiting as much as half of all finish makes use of topic to regulation below the Poisonous Substances Management Act.

Whereas the EPA banned one shopper use of methylene chloride in 2019, use of the chemical has remained widespread and continues to pose vital and typically deadly hazard to employees, the company mentioned. The EPA’s ultimate threat administration rule requires corporations to quickly section down manufacturing, processing and distribution of methylene chloride for all shopper makes use of and most industrial and industrial makes use of, together with in dwelling renovations.

Shopper use shall be phased out inside a 12 months, and most industrial and industrial makes use of shall be prohibited inside two years.

Liz Hitchcock, director of a safer chemical substances program for the advocacy group Poisonous-Free Future, praised the brand new rule however added: “As glad as we’re to see at present’s rule banning all shopper and most industrial makes use of, we’re involved that limits to its scope will enable continued publicity for too many employees to methylene chloride’s harmful and lethal results.”

Customers ought to search for labels indicating {that a} product is free from methylene chloride, mentioned the toxic-free group, which has printed a listing of paint and polish strippers and removers offered by main U.S. retailers that don’t comprise it.

Wendy Hartley, whose son Kevin died from methylene chloride poisoning after refinishing a tub at work, referred to as the brand new rule “an enormous step that may defend susceptible employees.”

Kevin Hartley, 21, of Tennessee, died in 2017. He was an organ donor, Wendy Hartley mentioned, including that due to the EPA’s actions, “Kevin’s loss of life will proceed to save lots of lives.”

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