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Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA

Final Rule on Regulation of Methylene Chloride in Paint and Coating Removal for Consumer Use

This page contains information on the technical and implementation requirements of EPA's final rule on the regulation of methylene chloride in paint and coating removal for consumer use. Find general information for consumers on how EPA is managing risk for methylene chloride, including what to do with existing stocks of methylene chloride paint and coating removal products. 

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Rule Summary

In March 2019, EPA issued a final rule to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint and coating removers for consumer use. EPA has taken this action because of the acute fatalities that have resulted from exposure to the chemical. Paint removal products containing methylene chloride will not be able to be sold at any retail or distribution establishments that have consumer sales, including e-commerce sales.

After November 22, 2019, all persons are prohibited from manufacturing (including importing), processing, and distributing in commerce, including distribution to and by retailers, methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal. After this date, methylene chloride for paint and coating removal cannot be available for purchase by consumers.

Prohibition and Definition of Retailer

Under the final rule, retailers cannot distribute methylene chloride-containing products for any paint and coating removal purposes. A retailer is defined by EPA’s regulation as a person who distributes in commerce or makes available a chemical substance or mixture to consumer end users, including by e-commerce internet sales or distribution. A distributor that has at least one consumer end-user customer is considered a retailer.

A person who distributes in commerce or makes available a chemical substance or mixture solely to commercial or industrial end users or solely to commercial or industrial businesses, and does not have any consumer customers, is not considered a retailer for purposes of EPA’s regulation of methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal. The final rule allows distribution of methylene chloride in paint and coating removal by business-to-business vendors, or by industrial establishments or e-commerce sites that do not have consumer customers.

Limiting the movement of methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal through the supply chain is necessary to address the unreasonable risks to consumers. Available information has demonstrated that consumer-based retailers do not have programs in place to differentiate between consumer and commercial customers; therefore, consumer access to these products is likely. If retail outlets with consumer customers continued to sell and distribute methylene chloride for paint and coating removal, it is likely that consumers would be able to purchase the products and would continue to face the unreasonable risks of injury that EPA has determined are presented.

The restrictions promulgated in the final rule were developed to address the unreasonable risks of injury to consumers from methylene chloride in paint and coating removal for consumer use. This definition of “retailer” helps to ensure that consumers do not have access to methylene chloride for paint and coating removal, while allowing access for commercial users of methylene chloride for paint and coating removal through other distribution networks.

Recordkeeping and Downstream Notification Requirements

The final rule also includes requirements for recordkeeping and downstream notification of these restrictions to others in the supply chain. Downstream notification ensures that processors and distributors are aware of the restrictions for methylene chloride in paint and coating removal; enhances the likelihood that the risks associated with this use of methylene chloride are addressed throughout the supply chain; and streamlines compliance and enforcement. The final rule requires manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors, except for retailers, to:

  • Retain the following documentation for three years from the date of shipment of any methylene chloride.  The required records can be kept either at the company's headquarters or at the facility for which the records were generated.
    • Companies to whom methylene chloride was shipped;
    • A copy of downstream notification provided; and
    • Amount of methylene chloride shipped.
  • Provide downstream notification of the prohibitions throughout the supply chain. This notification must:
    • Describe the restrictions in the rule and must be provided in writing with the shipment of the methylene chloride, or in advance of it;
    • Occur by inserting specific text in the Safety Data Sheet provided with the methylene chloride or any product containing methylene chloride; and
    • Be carried out for methylene chloride for all uses, not just paint and coating removal.  

Rule History

On January 19, 2017, EPA issued a proposed rule under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to regulate methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) in paint and coating removal.

Additional Resources

Learn more about risk management actions for methylene chloride.