EPA sets partial ban on widely used but deadly chemical

By Ellie Borst | 04/30/2024 01:26 PM EDT

The rule bans most industrial and commercial uses of methylene chloride and all consumer uses, including adhesives, lubricants and craft materials.

A paint stripping project

A paint stripping project is pictured. EPA finalized a ban on methylene chloride, a chemical often used in paint stripper products. Russ/Flickr

Many uses of a lethal chemical widely used in products including paint strippers and plastics are now banned, but EPA’s decision not to set a full ban is drawing criticism.

The final rule on methylene chloride goes much further than a Trump-era rule, which limited the ban to paint and coating removers for consumers but loosens some restrictions first proposed in May 2023.

The new rule will take 50 percent of all methylene chloride uses covered under the Toxic Substances Control Act — which excludes drugs, pesticides, foods and beauty products, to name a few — off the market, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff said on a call with reporters.


“There simply isn’t a way to safely continue those uses … but we’re not banning all uses,” Freedhoff said.