An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

News Releases

News Releases from HeadquartersChemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP)

EPA Releases First Final Chemical Risk Evaluation

06/19/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (June 19, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final risk evaluation for methylene chloride, the first risk evaluation to be completed under the Lautenberg Act amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Under TSCA, EPA is required to evaluate the risks associated with existing chemicals in commerce using the best available science before taking action to address any unreasonable risks. Today’s final risk findings complete the risk evaluation process required by TSCA for methylene chloride.

“EPA’s work to evaluate chemicals under TSCA is critical to our mission of protecting public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s action builds on last year’s ban on consumer sales of certain methylene chloride products and will guide the agency’s efforts to further reduce risks from this chemical.”

“Releasing the first final risk evaluation marks a key milestone in our efforts to fulfill our responsibilities for ensuring the safety of chemicals already on the market,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “By following the TSCA process, we can have confidence in our final conclusions and move forward with developing a plan to protect the public from any unreasonable risks.”

The final risk evaluation for methylene chloride shows that there are unreasonable risks to workers, occupational non-users, consumers, and bystanders under 47 out of 53 conditions of use. EPA did not find unreasonable risk to the environment.

The next step in the process required by TSCA is addressing these risks. There are several actions EPA could take to address these risks, including regulations to prohibit or limit the manufacture, processing, distribution in the marketplace, use, or disposal of this chemical substance, as applicable. EPA will now begin the process of developing ways to address the unreasonable risks identified and has up to one year to propose and take public comments on any risk management actions.

As with any chemical product, EPA strongly recommends that users continue to carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label/safety data sheet. In March 2019, EPA banned sales of methylene chloride in paint and coating removers for consumer use. Consumers should not use paint and coating removers containing methylene chloride.

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

Learn more about actions EPA has already taken to protect consumers from methylene chloride: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/risk-management-methylene-chloride

Background

Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane and DCM, is a volatile chemical used in a wide range of industrial, commercial, and consumer applications. Common uses of methylene chloride are as a solvent in vapor degreasing, metal cleaning, in the production of refrigerant chemicals, and as an ingredient in sealants and adhesive removers. Consumer uses include adhesives, sealants, degreasers, cleaners, and automobile care products.

In March 2019 , EPA prohibited the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers for consumer use. After November 22, 2019, paint removal products containing methylene chloride are not able to be sold at any retail or distribution establishments that have consumer sales, including e-commerce sales.

EPA plans to issue final risk evaluations for the remaining nine of the first 10 chemicals by the end of 2020. Learn more about the risk evaluation process required by TSCA: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/how-epa-evaluates-safety-existing-chemicals

###