The US EPA is proposing to prohibit methylene chloride beyond paint strippers for consumer use under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Comments will be accepted until July 3, 2023
In 2019, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prohibited methylene chloride (aka dichloromethane (DCM)) in paint and coating removal products for consumer use under TSCA section 6(a) (84 FR 11420).
On May 3, 2023, the US EPA issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register to regulate the use of methylene chloride in a much more extensive manner (88 FR 28284).
The proposal seeks to address the unreasonable risk of DCM to human health by amending 40 CFR 751 ‘Regulation of certain chemical substances and mixtures under section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act’. It:
- Prohibits its manufacture (including import), processing and distribution for all consumer use. Includes, but is not limited to:
- Adhesives and sealants
- Adhesive and caulk removers
- Anti-spatter welding aerosols
- Arts, crafts, and hobby materials in crafting glue
- Automotive care products (functional fluids for air conditioners, and degreasers)
- Brush cleaners for paints and coatings
- Carbon removers and other brush cleaners
- Lubricants and grease
- Metal degreasers
- Solvent in aerosol degreasers/cleaners
- Prohibits most industrial and commercial use. Includes, but is not limited to:
- Adhesives, caulks and sealants
- Adhesive and caulk removers
- Aerosol degreasers and cleaners, and non-aerosol degreasers and cleaners
- Anti-splatter welding aerosols
- Apparel and footwear care products
- Automotive care products (functional fluids for air conditions, interior car care and degreasers)
- Carbon removers, wood floor and brush cleaners
- Electrical equipment, appliances, components, plastic and rubber products, and cellulose triacetate films
- Finishing products for fabrics, textiles and leather
- Liquid lubricants and grease
- Lithographic printing plate cleaners
- Metal aerosol degreasers and non-aerosol degreasers
- Paints and coatings and their removers (including furniture refinishers)
- Propellants and blowing agents
- Solvent for batch vapor degreasing, in-line vapor degreasing, cold cleaning and aerosol spray degreasers/cleaners
- Solvent that becomes part of a formulation or mixture
- Spot removers for apparel and textiles
- Toys, playground and sporting equipment
- Requires a workplace chemical protection program (WCPP), which includes inhalation exposure concentration limits and exposure monitoring for certain applications to be continued (e.g., domestic manufacturing, import and certain processing applications)
- Requires recordkeeping and downstream notification requirements for several conditions of use
- Provides a 10-year time-limited exemption for civilian aviation from the prohibition in paint and coating removals
- Provides a 10-year time-limited exemption for certain National Aeronautics and Space Administrative missions
The proposed prohibitions on manufacturing (including import), processing, distribution in commerce and use of DCM would be implemented in phases, starting 90 days after the date of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.
According to the proposed rule, comments will be accepted until July 3, 2023.
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