Carper Statement on EPA’s Actions on Methylene Chloride

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announced upcoming actions on methylene chloride, a dangerous chemical found in paint strippers. Following the 2016 enactment of reforms to the Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA), EPA proposed bans on some uses of three chemicals under the new law, including methylene chloride. In January 2018, Senator Carper questioned Administrator Pruitt about the agency’s delay in finalizing a ban on the deadly chemical that has killed dozens of people.


“The long overdue TSCA reforms that Congress passed in 2016 sought to protect millions of Americans from some of the most dangerous chemicals known to man. Too often, these chemicals were lurking in common household products that could easily be purchased at a local hardware store, including paint strippers that contain potentially lethal methylene chloride. Passing the law was a historic step, but the new law is only useful if the agency responsible for enforcing it is doing so diligently.


“Today’s announcement that EPA intends to finalize a ban on methylene chloride – a chemical so dangerous that it has killed dozens of people even when they were wearing protective gear – is welcome news, especially after the agency previously delayed finalization of this proposed ban indefinitely. I am also encouraged that the agency is relying on previous risk assessments that clearly and scientifically showed just how threatening products containing methylene chloride could be to people’s health and safety. However, just like a law doesn’t mean much if it is not enforced, intentions to finalize a ban on a deadly chemical don’t mean much if that chemical stays on the shelves.


“While today’s news is a positive sign that EPA is moving in the right direction, I would urge the agency to work expeditiously to finalize and implement a ban on methylene chloride in order to get dangerous products off the market once and for all.”