New EPA Restrictions on Methylene Chloride: What Is It and Why Is It Dangerous?

From bathtub refinishing to furniture stripping, methylene chloride takes center stage in a variety of household projects. Increasingly, however, health authorities are alerting the public to the substance’s dangers — and claiming that it’s to blame for a myriad of tragic deaths.

What Is Methylene Chloride? Why Should Consumers Avoid It?

Sometimes referred to as dichloromethane or DCM, methylene chloride is a solvent used in a wide array of products. It is most commonly seen in paint strippers, but can also be used in adhesives such as acrylic cement. The substance is also sometimes seen in automotive and general cleaning products.

Whether exposure occurs through inhalation or the solvent is absorbed through the skin, it can be deadly. This is especially true when products containing methylene chloride are used in poorly-ventilated areas.

New EPA Restrictions

The Obama administration previously proposed a total ban on methylene chloride, in keeping with the European Union’s 2011 ban. The EPA has yet to outright ban the substance, however. Instead, the agency placed new restrictions related to findings regarding an “unreasonable risk of injury.” While use of methylene chloride remains permissible in select circumstances, the solvent will be phased out from the consumer market.

Currently, the EPA is seeking comments on a potential rule that would require training and certification for those looking to use methylene chloride in the workplace. However, a future ban on all use of the substance remains possible.

Advocates of a total ban are disappointed by the EPA’s retraction from the original proposal, with many citing concerns that training under federal guidance may still not be enough to protect vulnerable workers from this highly toxic chemical.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a substance containing methylene chloride or other noxious chemicals, you may be eligible for damages. Contact Regan Zambri Long PLLC today to learn more.