Encouraging EPA Response to Families on Deadly Paint Stripping Chemical

Statement of Dr. Sarah Vogel, VP, Health, Environmental Defense Fund

May 10, 2018
Keith Gaby, kgaby@edf.org, (202) 572-3336

“On Tuesday, Wendy Hartley and Cindy Wynne – both of whom lost their sons to methylene chloride exposure – met with members of Congress and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, asking that use of this deadly chemical in paint and coating removal products be banned.

“We are encouraged that today EPA has decided to reverse course and move forward to finalize its proposed rule banning methylene chloride in these products. We are also encouraged that EPA is not re-evaluating the paint stripping uses of methylene chloride and is relying on its previous risk assessments, which found very high risks to consumers and workers from these products.

“It needs to be noted that EPA’s statement falls short of committing to finalize a ban. It is vitally important that EPA move quickly to implement a ban, and that includes ensuring necessary administrative procedures are followed to guarantee a permanent ban and that these products are promptly removed from store shelves. We, and families all across this country, will be watching closely to make sure this Administration delivers on today’s promise from Administrator Pruitt.

“The credit for any step forward here belongs entirely to the brave members of the Hartley, Wynne, and Atkins families who, to honor their sons and protect all of us, fought to ban this deadly chemical. They received important support from Senators Graham, Carper, Scott, and Udall, and Representatives Sanford, Pallone, DeGette, Tonko, Lowey, and others.

“We will delay any celebration until paint strippers containing this deadly chemical are actually off the market. There are a number of steps that now must be taken in order to effectively finalize and implement this ban.

“But if methylene chloride in paint strippers is effectively removed from the marketplace, it will be a good day for American families.”

--Dr. Sarah Vogel, VP, Health, Environmental Defense Fund

# # #

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.