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On Nov. 22, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, issued regulations on the consumer use of methylene chloride paint removers. The methylene chloride chemical was commonly found in many popular solvent-based strippers/removers due to the effectiveness. Paint removers containing methylene chloride could strip up to 15 layers in paint in as a little as 15 to 30 minutes.

It is now unlawful for any person or retailer to sell or distribute paint removal products containing methylene chloride. This includes e-commerce retailers such as Amazon or E-Bay. These EPA regulations prohibit the manufacture, import, processing and distribution of these products. The EPA has taken action because of acute fatalities that have resulted from exposure to the chemical. Additional information on the risks associated with methylene chloride can be found online.

Most retailers phased out the selling and distribution of affected products by the end of 2018. This includes Ace Hardware, Amazon, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and Sherwin-Williams. However, many consumers may have purchased affected paint removers. Because of this, Auburn University Risk Management and Safety recommends reviewing any solvent-based paint removers/strippers you may have in your home or workspace. If you have any of these products, do not use them and ensure their containers are sealed and puncture free.

If you are in possession of any methylene chloride based solvents on campus, contact Risk Management and Safety at 334-844-4870 or aurms@auburn.edu

If you are in possession of any methylene chloride based solvents in your home,  contact your city or community’s environmental services office.