3 big retailers phasing out paint strippers with chemical linked to deaths

After a CBS News investigation, three major retailers — Home Depot, Sherwin-Williams and Lowe’s — now plan to phase out paint-stripping products containing a potentially deadly chemical. Health authorities believe strippers with toxic methylene chloride have claimed dozens of lives. Home Depot, Sherwin-Williams and Lowe’s all say they will stop selling those products by the end of the year.

EPA scientists have said this chemical poses an “unreasonable risk.” But products containing methylene chloride have been sold to consumers for years. We’ve told you how victims, usually young men, have died after doing things like stripping paint off a car, for example.

Those families have been pushing for action not only at the EPA but at the retail level. 

We reached out to the three companies planning to stop the sale of these products. Lowe’s said it wants to “bring safer, affordable options to customers.” Home Depot said it wants to improve health and environmental safety for products. Sherwin-Williams said it also has “effective alternatives” that do not contain methylene chloride. 

There was a lot of concern the EPA would not uphold its planned ban on the chemical. Activists said they are cautiously optimistic at this point that it will still happen. However, that will take much longer, and the families we spoke to are not willing to wait and watch more people die.

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Categories: Health

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