EPA Finalizes Ban on Most Uses of Hazardous Chemical Methylene Chloride

EPA Finalizes Ban on Most Uses of Hazardous Chemical Methylene Chloride

The hazardous chemical has been known to cause various forms of cancer, neurotoxicity and liver damage.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has enacted a ban on most applications of methylene chloride, a hazardous chemical linked to various cancers, neurotoxicity, liver damage and death. This measure—part of the Biden-Harris Administration's efforts to enhance worker safety and public health—aligns with President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative.

According to a recent release, the finalized rule mandates safety protocols for limited industrial use, ensuring protection for workers through exposure limits and monitoring requirements. This development marks the second risk management rule established under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) amendments of 2016. Methylene chloride is used in consumer, commercial and industrial applications. Fatalities from exposure have occurred largely among workers.

“Exposure to methylene chloride has devastated families across this country for too long, including some who saw loved ones go to work and never come home,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement. “EPA’s final action brings an end to unsafe methylene chloride practices and implements the strongest worker protections possible for the few remaining industrial uses, ensuring no one in this country is put in harm’s way by this dangerous chemical.”

Under the new rule, companies must swiftly reduce the manufacturing, processing and distribution of methylene chloride for all consumer uses as well as most industrial and commercial purposes. Consumer use will cease within a year, while industrial and commercial applications will be prohibited within two years. Certain specialized uses deemed vital for national security and the economy will continue under strict workplace controls.

With a compliance timeframe extended to 18 months, workplaces have an opportunity to implement necessary protections. The EPA has plans to host a public webinar to explain the rule and its implementation details. More information is available on the EPA website.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor for Environmental Protection.

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