REGION – State health officials are advising Vermonters to safely dispose of certain paint and coating removers – paint strippers – determined to be too dangerous to use. That’s because some of these products contain a dangerous chemical called methylene chloride.
Methylene chloride can affect the nervous system and increase a person’s chance of getting cancer, and can damage the liver, kidney, and heart. Exposure to a buildup of methylene chloride fumes in a small space can be fatal. People who have concerns about past exposure should discuss this with their health care provider.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule in March to prohibit the manufacture, importation, processing, and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers for consumer use. The restrictions go into effect Nov. 22, 2019.
If you currently have paint and coating removers that contain methylene chloride, contact your local solid waste district for when and where hazardous waste collection is available. Methylene chloride is typically listed as an ingredient on the container. Do not dispose of these products in your drain, trash, or anywhere in the environment.
Businesses that use methylene chloride products can learn what steps to take to protect their workers. This may include proper ventilation and other personal protective equipment. Contact Project WorkSafe for more information, www.labor.vermont.gov/project-worksafe.
Learn more about methylene chloride at www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/risk-management-methylene-chloride.