Eco Activists in San Miguel, all over Mexico and the the rest of the world: It is urgent to ban high-risk uses of trichloroethylene (TCE), methylene chloride (DCM), and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) under the new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
These chemicals are extremely toxic. TCE is carcinogenic and can cause heart defects in the developing fetus. DCM is a very lethal chemical over the past few decades, dozens of workers have died from using DCM-based paint stripping products. NMP is often used as a substitute for DCM in paint stripping products, yet it also presents major health risks ranging from developmental and reproductive toxicity to neurotoxicity to liver and kidney damage.
EPA had not successfully banned a chemical under the original TSCA in nearly three decades. Now, with its greater authority under the new TSCA as amended by the Lautenberg Act, EPA can score an early public health victory by banning these toxic chemicals for these high-risk uses.
But the chemical industry is complaining and pressuring EPA to back off, delay, or weaken these much needed rules. Some in industry are suggesting that measures like putting a simple label on these deadly products or requiring workers to wear protective gear would suffice. But labels, personal protective equipment, and concentration limits are not enough to protect my family and community.
I strongly urge the Agency to stay on track and promptly ban TCE used as a spot cleaning agent in dry cleaning, as an aerosol spray degreaser in commercial and consumer settings, and as a vapor degreaser in commercial settings, and both DCM and NMP used for commercial and consumer paint stripping. Safer alternatives are already widely available.
There is simply no excuse to continue putting my family’s and my community’s health at risk by delaying or weakening these rules.
It’s carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and acutely lethal—but it’s still in use in paint strippers across the country. It’s methylene chloride—also known as dichloromethane, or more simply, DCM.
The EPA says that exposure can lead to dizziness, incapacitation, and, in some cases, quite bluntly, death. To protect us, the agency has proposed a rule to ban the use of this chemical as a paint stripper—we just need your voice to ensure that rule is finalized and enforced.
And that’s not the only chemical EPA is taking on:
There’s also N-methylpyrrolidone (or, more simply, NMP). It’s commonly used as a DCM replacement in paint strippers, yet it comes with dangers of its own—including developmental and reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and damage to the liver and kidney. EPA is considering two approaches to addressing this chemical: a ban, or less-protective measures like labeling and personal protective equipment.
And, finally, there’s the EPA’s proposed bans on uses of trichloroethylene (TCE). It’s used as a spot cleaning agent in dry cleaning. It is also used as a vapor degreaser in workplaces like electronics assembly and repair shops to remove grease and oil from fabricated parts.
The health effects of TCE range from skin and eye irritation and dizziness, to heart defects in a developing fetus, to cancer.
Yet some in industry are fighting back against these bans, claiming that labels and protective wear can be enough. Tell the EPA: Americans deserve better. It’s time to ban these high-risk uses of dangerous chemicals.
Thank you for standing with us,
Action Network Manager
EPA is one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of 550 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world.