EPA’s Methylene Chloride Consumer Ban Will Take Effect Soon

Even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its ban of methylene chloride for consumer use in paint and coating removal on March 27, 2019, the prohibition actually takes effect on November 23, 2019.  Manufacturers, processors, distributors, and retailers should understand how EPA seeks to effectuate this ban:

  1. Any person or entity is prohibited from manufacturing, processing, and distributing in commerce methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal;

  2. No person or entity may distribute methylene chloride, including any products containing methylene chloride, for paint and coating removal to retailers; and

  3. Retailers may not distribute in commerce methylene chloride, including any products containing methylene chloride, for paint and coating removal.

For purposes of this regulation, “retailer” means any person or entity “who distributes in commerce or makes available a chemical substance or mixture to consumer end users, including e-commerce internet sales or distribution.”  Online platforms should be particularly mindful that EPA may hold them accountable for the actions of third-party sellers.  EPA’s definition of “retailer” is notably broad because it includes any distributor or seller with at least one consumer end user – regardless of whether a consumer purchases methylene chloride or another product from that distributor or seller.  In essence, this ban prohibits retailers, distributors and sellers with at least one consumer end user, and consumers from selling and purchasing methylene chloride for paint and coating removal.

As you should already know, EPA’s downstream notification and recordkeeping requirements went into effect on August 27, 2019.  These requirements apply to any uses of methylene chloride.  Any person or entity who manufactures, processes, or distributes in commerce methylene chloride for any use must, prior to or concurrent with the shipment, notify companies to whom methylene chloride is shipped, in writing, of the restrictions described in the final regulation.  Specifically, notification must occur by inserting the following text in the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) provided with methylene chloride or with any product containing methylene chloride:

  • SDS Section 1.(c): “This chemical/product is not and cannot be distributed in commerce (as defined in TSCA section 3(5)) or processed (as defined in TSCA section 3(13)) for consumer paint or coating removal.”

  • SDS Section 15: “This chemical/product is not and cannot be distributed in commerce (as defined in TSCA section 3(5)) or processed (as defined in TSCA section 3(13)) for consumer paint or coating removal.”

Finally, any person or entity who manufacturers, processes, or distributes in commerce any methylene chloride must retain for three years from the date of shipment, in one location at the headquarters of the company or at the facility for which the records were generated, documentation showing:

  1. The name, address, contact, and telephone number of companies to whom methylene chloride was shipped;

  2. A copy of the requisite notification; and

  3. The amount of methylene chloride shipped.

Failure to comply with any of these restrictions and requirements may subject a person or entity to civil and criminal penalties under TSCA section 16 (15 U.S.C. § 2615). 

The WELL

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