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EPA Unveils New Prohibitions for Methylene Chloride

Posted on 3/29/2019 by Anthony Cardno, CHMM

The Environmental Protection Agency promulgated a Final Rule on March 27, 2019 to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal, including distribution to and by retailers.

Methylene chloride was one of the first ten chemicals to be considered a high priority for risk assessment under TSCA Reform (the Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act or LCSA) on December 19, 2016.

TSCA has undergone major changes in the last few years. Identify your site’s TSCA chemical reporting, recordkeeping, and management responsibilities with the recently updated TSCA Regulations Online Course.

In January 2017, EPA issued a proposed rule covering methylene chloride in both consumer and commercial paint and coating removing and proposed to regulate N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) in paint and coating removal.

The March 27 Final Rule does not include action neither on methylene chloride in commercial paint and coating removal nor on NMP in paint and coating removal.

EPA defines consumer paint and coating removal as “paint and coating removal performed by any natural person who uses a paint and coating removal product for any personal use without receiving remuneration or other form of payment.” [40 CFR 751.103]

Consumer Paint and Coating Removal

Starting November 29, 2019, all persons are prohibited from manufacturing, processing, and distributing methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal and distributing methylene chloride and methylene chloride-containing products for paint and coating removal to retailers. As of that same date, retailers are prohibited from distributing methylene chloride and methylene chloride-containing products for paint and coating removal.

EPA Unveils New Prohibitions for Methylene Chloride

Downstream Notification

Additionally, starting August 26, 2019, anyone who manufactures, processes, or distributes methylene chloride for any use must notify the companies to whom the methylene chloride is shipped of these new restrictions. This notification must be in writing and must be sent either prior to or with the shipment. Specific text, to be found in 40 CFR 751.107, must be inserted into the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the methylene chloride or for methylene chloride-containing products.

Recordkeeping for Methylene Chloride

Anyone who manufactures, processes, or distributes methylene chloride after August 26, 2019 must retain documents showing contact information for the company to whom the methylene chloride was shipped, a copy of the notification provided, and the amount of the methylene chloride shipped. These records must be retained for three years.

The New 40 CFR Part 751

Methylene chloride is just the first of a number of chemicals EPA is expected to determine poses an “unreasonable risk to human health and the environment” under LCSA. As the EPA proceeds with its prioritization and risk assessment requirements, the Agency will codify these new regulatory programs under the newly created 40 CFR 751. This part is officially titled “Regulation of Certain Chemical Substances and Mixtures Under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act.”

Methylene Chloride in Commercial Paint and Coating Removal

The Agency today also published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (APRM) regarding the establishment of a training, certification, and limited access for methylene chloride in commercial paint and coating removal. The EPA is soliciting public input from interested parties through May 28, 2019.
N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)

While the EPA included NMP in the January 2017 proposed rule, the Agency is opting to subject NMP to a separate risk evaluation process under LCSA rather than including it in the methylene chloride risk evaluation. At this time, the Agency is not publishing even an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for N-methylpyrrolidone.

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Tags: chemical industry, EPA, methylene chloride, new rules, TSCA

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