Risk Management for Methylene Chloride
Below is information on EPA actions to manage the unreasonable risk from methylene chloride and protect public health. Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane and DCM, is a volatile chemical used in a wide range of industrial, commercial, and consumer applications like adhesives, sealants, degreasers, cleaners, and automobile products.
On this page:
- Managing risks from methylene chloride
- Opportunities for public and stakeholder engagement
- 2019 regulation addressing consumer paint and coating removal
On other pages:
- Learn how EPA manages unreasonable risks from chemicals currently on the market.
- View a list of all chemicals undergoing risk evaluation, including docket numbers and agency points of contact.
In May 2023, EPA proposed prohibitions and workplace protections under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for methylene chloride to protect human health.
EPA’s proposal would:
- Prohibit manufacturing, processing and distribution of methylene chloride for all consumer uses
- Prohibit most industrial and commercial uses of methylene chloride
- Create strict workplace protections to ensure that for the remaining uses, workers will not be harmed by methylene chloride use.
- Require manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors to notify companies to whom methylene chloride is shipped of the prohibitions and to maintain records.
Most of these changes would be fully implemented in 15 months after the rule is finalized and would amount to a prohibition of an estimated 52% of annual production volume for end uses subject to TSCA. For most uses of methylene chloride that EPA is proposing to prohibit, EPA’s analysis found that alternative products with similar costs and efficacy to methylene chloride products are generally available.
For the industrial manufacturing, industrial processing, and federal uses that EPA is not proposing to prohibit where EPA determined unreasonable risk can be addressed, EPA is proposing a workplace chemical protection program (WCPP) with strong exposure limits to protect workers. EPA has already received data from industry that indicate some facilities may already be meeting or able to meet the proposed methylene chloride exposure limits. These proposed requirements would allow the continued processing of methylene chloride to produce chemicals that are important in efforts to reduce global warming outlined in the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. Implementing phasedown of refrigerants with higher global warming potentials plays a significant role in combatting climate change and EPA’s proposed rule supports continued efforts to reduce emissions.
The proposed risk management rule is based on EPA’s June 2020 TSCA section 6 risk evaluation, as amended by the November 2022 final revised risk determination for methylene chloride.
In the final revised risk determination, EPA determined that methylene chloride as a whole chemical presents an unreasonable risk of injury to human health under its conditions of use and did not assume the use of personal protective equipment. The unreasonable risk determination was driven by 52 of the 53 conditions of use EPA evaluated.
EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for methylene chloride for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register via docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-0465 at www.regulations.gov.
- View a list of all public and stakeholder engagement opportunities related to risk management.
- You can reach out to the EPA point of contact for this chemical, listed at the top, right of this page, for more information or to schedule a one-on-one meeting.
- You can also stay informed by signing for our email alerts or checking the public docket at EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-0465 at www.regulations.gov.
Past Meetings, Webinars, and Other Engagement Opportunities
EPA hosted a webinar on June 7, 2023 about the proposed risk management rule. View the materials for the webinar.
EPA completed the Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel for the methylene chloride rulemaking on October 28, 2021. Learn more.
EPA held two identical consultation webinars, one on November 16, 2020, and the other on November 19, 2020, to consult with environmental justice communities on risk management for methylene chloride and 1-BP. View the materials for the webinars.
On September 16, 2020, EPA held a webinar on the TSCA risk management process and the findings in the final risk evaluation for methylene chloride. View the materials for the webinar.
In March 2019, EPA issued a final rule to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution of methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal. EPA has taken this action because of the acute fatalities that have resulted from exposure to the chemical in consumer paint and coating removal. 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. EPA is also requiring manufacturers, processors, and distributors to notify retailers and others in their supply chains of the prohibitions and to maintain records.
EPA is encouraging all consumers to stop using methylene chloride products that they may have already purchased for paint and coating removal. Please consult your state and local government solid waste agencies to obtain proper disposal instructions for leftover or unused paint and coating removal products.