Home Depot, Lowe’s and retail locations of Sherwin Williams all say they will stop selling paint strippers that contain a toxic chemical responsible for what’s believed to be dozens of deaths over several decades.
The retailers plan to remove paint-stripping products with methylene chloride from their shelves before the end of the year.
Paint strippers with deadly methylene chloride are widely available
While the Environmental Protection Agency weighs a ban on products with methylene chloride, those three retailers are moving ahead with plans to pull potentially deadly paint strippers from their shelves.
Unfortunately, that’s too late for the many victims — mostly young men — who might use the offending product to strip paint from a vehicle or from a piece of furniture.
With either scenario, the danger is the person using the paint stripper will do so indoors where there’s not adequate ventilation.
This would certainly be true if you chose to strip paint off furniture while inside your home, but it could also be true if you were beginning an auto paint job in an enclosed garage.
Home Depot tells CBS News that its decision to pull the products from shelves stems from wanting an “improvement in health and environmental safety.”
Lowe’s says it wants to “bring safer, affordable options to customers.” And Sherwin-Williams said it also has “effective alternatives” that will be brought to market to fill the gap when the paint strippers with methylene chloride go away.
Meanwhile, CBS reports that activists are “cautiously optimistic” that the EPA will finally enact its own ban this year, separate from these retailer initiatives. That’s despite the agency having dragged its feet on the issue since initially proposing a ban in January 2017.