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Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA

Risk Management for Methylene Chloride

EPA issued a final rule to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers for consumer use. EPA has taken this action because of the acute fatalities that have resulted from exposure to the chemical. 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 keep records.

Additionally, EPA solicited public input for a future rulemaking that could establish a training, certification and limited access program for methylene chloride for commercial uses in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0844.

Learn more about risk management for methylene chloride:


What is Methylene Chloride?

Methylene chloride, which is also called dichloromethane or DCM, is a volatile chemical used in a variety of industries, such as paint and coating removal, plastic processing, metal cleaning and degreasing, adhesive manufacture, and as a heat transfer fluid. Methylene chloride is domestically manufactured and imported into the United States; it is estimated that up to 260 million pounds per year are used. EPA estimates that approximately ten percent of total methylene chloride usage is for paint and coating removal products.

Why is EPA concerned?

EPA found risks to consumers using methylene chloride to be unreasonable due to acute human lethality. Acute (short-term) exposures to methylene chloride fumes can rapidly cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, and death due to nervous system depression. EPA is particularly concerned about the fatalities to consumers from using methylene chloride in enclosed spaces.

Are there alternatives to methylene chloride available?

Yes, a variety of alternative paint and coating removal products are available. These include other chemical products as well as mechanical methods. As with use of any product, people should read and carefully follow all label directions.  

How do people dispose of unwanted methylene chloride?

Please consult your state and local government solid waste agencies to obtain proper disposal instructions for leftover or unused paint and coating removal products. 

Should consumers continue to use methylene chloride paint and coating removal products?

EPA is encouraging all consumers to stop using methylene chloride products that they may have already purchased for paint and coating removal. EPA identified unreasonable health risks from methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal, and the final rule prohibits manufacture, processing, and distribution for this use. 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.

Past risk management actions