In the latest twist to the Methylene Chloride debate, the Vermont Public Interest Research Group together with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF), the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), and two families that have lost loved ones to Methylene Chloride exposure filed a lawsuit against the EPA on Jan 14th, 2019. They claim the EPA has violated public commitments and legal obligations by failing to finalize the ban, leaving workers and consumers exposed to a chemical linked to cancer, heart failure and sudden death.
This lawsuit follows the recent submission of the final rule regulating methylene chloride to the OMB on December 21, 2018. This was followed by another submission on the same day entitled: Methylene Chloride; Commercial Paint and Coating Removal Training, Certification and Limited Access Program. Both the details of these rules, and the time required to finalize them are unknown at this time.
The EPA has declined to comment on the submissions, citing the partial government shutdown.
In case you have not been following, here’s the rundown from the last 2 years:
August 2014 -- EPA releases TSCA Workplan Chemical Risk Assessment on Methylene Chloride.
January 19, 2017 – Under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 6, the EPA submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget a proposal to ban all consumer and commercial uses of Methylene Chloride.
May 10, 2018 – On the heels of the EPA’s meeting with families and advocacy groups, the agency announced its intentions to finalize a rule addressing methylene chloride "shortly". At that time, at least 4 additional Methylene Chloride-related deaths had been reported.
May-October 2018 – In the months that follow, and in the absence of Federal action, consumers and NGOs petition for change. Between May 2018 and November 2018, eleven major North American home improvement and auto parts retailers took action by removing products containing the chemical from their shelves.
Dec. 21, 2018 – The EPA submits a new proposal.
Dec. 22, 2018 – Government Shutdown Begins
For more from APC on methylene chloride:
What EPA Action on Methylene Chloride Means for Painters
Paint Retailers Pull Dangerous Strippers Off Shelves