EPA Responds About Deadly Chemical

The news comes a day after Pruitt met with victims’ families.

The news comes a day after Pruitt met with victims’ families.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will take action “shortly” on methylene chloride, a lethal chemical found in paint strippers. At least three deaths have been tied to methylene chloride since the agency came under Administrator Scott Pruitt, who recently met with the families of victims who had died after inhaling the chemical.

Soon after Pruitt joined the EPA, he shelved an Obama-era proposed ban on methylene chloride, despite the fact that nearly 60 deaths have been linked to the toxic chemical. Pruitt’s recent meeting with the victims' families should spur the agency to take the necessary steps to protect consumers from methylene chloride.

“Scott Pruitt should immediately act to save others’ lives by finalizing the agency’s proposed bans of methylene chloride and two other highly toxic solvents,” said Erik Olson, NRDC’s Health program director. “Compared to Pruitt’s aggressive acts to carry water for industry, whether by censoring science or decimating enforcement of environmental crimes, today’s ambiguous announcement suggests that perhaps not even a body count can get Scott Pruitt to use his authority to do the right thing for the environment or public health.”

Methylene chloride’s fumes can cause liver toxicity, cancer, and even trigger fatal heart attacks. It’s harmful to the nervous system and easily transfers into breast milk. Despite such risks, methylene chloride–based products can be purchased in everyday home stores.

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