US bans most uses of a deadly chemical in paint thinners

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday finalized a ban on most uses of the deadly chemical methylene chloride, which can suffocate users in confined areas and cause liver and other cancers.

The agency also added tighter workplace protections for the highly industrialized applications in which it can continue to be used, including by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Tuesday’s announcement strengthens a 2019 EPA ban on the manufacture, processing and distribution of methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane, in all paint and coating removers for consumer use after Nov. 22, 2019. Products containing the compound had been readily available at home improvement chains, including Lowe’s and Home Depot, which have phased out products containing the compound.