Public health advocates have filed suit against US EPA
over a stalled rulemaking to ban the use of methylene chloride (MCL), a common ingredient in paints and paint strippers.
The suit aims to compel EPA to finalize a rulemaking proposed in January 2017 under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Section 6. Section 6 of TSCA authorizes EPA to ban or restrict the manufacture, use, processing, distribution in commerce, or disposal of chemicals that the Agency’s risk evaluation determines present an imminent hazard. EPA proposed the rulemaking on January 19, 2017.
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The January 2017 proposed rule
would prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of MCL and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)—a replacement solvent used in paint-stripping and other applications—for consumer and most types of commercial paint and coatings removal under Section 6 of TSCA.
The proposed rule also includes recordkeeping and supply-chain notification requirements.
EPA announced in May 2018 that they would finalize the methylene chloride rulemaking
and send it to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). When no immediate action was taken, groups threatened suit
in late 2018. Advocates officially filed their suit on January 14, 2019 to compel EPA to finalize the rule.
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Final Rule Sent to OMB
In December 2018, US EPA sent
aJanuary 2017 Final Rule to the Office of Management and Budget, with two changes from the January 2017 proposal:
- EPA intends to further evaluate the commercial furniture refinishing use of methylene chloride; and
- EPA intends to address NMP use in paint and coating removal in a separate regulatory action.
TSCA Chemical Risk Evaluations
Both MCL and NMP are on among the first ten chemicals slated for new risk evaluations
required under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st
Century Act (the “Lautenberg Law”).
Learn more about EPA’s TSCA risk evaluation for methylene chloride (MCL) here.
Learn more about EPA’s TSCA risk evaluation for NMP here