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Methylene Chloride Draft Risk Evaluation Available for Public and Scientific Review

For Release: October 29, 2019

EPA is asking for public input on a draft risk evaluation of more than 70 uses of Methylene Chloride (MC), including commercial paint and coating removal, consumer adhesives, sealants, degreasers, cleaners and automobile care products. This is the next step in a process outlined by the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to review the risks associated with uses of MC—a process that is designed to thoroughly evaluate the available science before taking action to manage the risk associated with the use of the chemical. Methylene chloride is the fifth of the first ten chemicals to undergo risk evaluation under the amended TSCA.

The draft risk evaluation is not a final agency action. The draft risk evaluation represents the agency’s initial review of the scientific data on these chemicals and will be peer reviewed by independent, scientific experts as well as open to public comment. EPA will use feedback received from the peer review and public comment process to inform the final risk evaluation and will provide frequent updates on the agency’s progress through this process. If EPA’s final risk evaluation finds there are adverse health risks associated with this chemical under any of the specific conditions of use, the agency will propose actions to address those risks within the timeframe required by TSCA. EPA’s actions could include proposed regulations to prohibit or limit the manufacture, processing, distribution in the marketplace, use, or disposal of this chemical, as applicable.

The draft risk evaluation for MC discusses how workers, occupational non-users, consumers, and bystanders could be adversely affected by MC under certain conditions of use. As with any chemical product, EPA strongly recommends that users carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label.

EPA will accept comments on the draft risk evaluation until December 30, 2019 in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0437 on regulations.gov. EPA will also hold a peer review meeting of EPA’s Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) on the draft risk evaluation for this chemical’s conditions of use on December 3-4, 2019. The peer review meeting is open to the public to attend and provide comments.

Additional information:
View the draft risk evaluation and supporting documents: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/draft-risk-evaluation-methylene-chloride

Learn more about the peer review meeting: https://www.epa.gov/tsca-peer-review/peer-review-draft-risk-evaluation-methylene-chloride

Background

Methylene chloride (MC), also known as dichloromethane and DCM, is a volatile chemical used as a solvent in a wide range of industrial, commercial, and consumer applications. The primary uses for methylene chloride are in metal cleaning, aerosol solvents, chemical processing, paint removal, adhesives, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and flexible polyurethane foam manufacturing. Information from the 2016 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) for MC indicates the reported production volume is more than 260 million pounds/year (manufacture and import).

In March 2019, EPA prohibited the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution of MC in all paint removers for consumer use. Starting on November 22, 2019, 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.