Retailers like Walmart are stepping up to pull toxic solvents from their shelves for all customers, commercial and private.
It’s now two years since Walmart stopped selling paint strippers containing methylene chloride or N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP), joining the ranks of Lowes, Home Depot, and Sherwin Williams — all of which vowed not to sell toxic paint stripping products.
The decision by Walmart includes not only its US stores, but those in Mexico, Canada, and Central America, as well as their online store.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reports that methylene chloride is a highly neurotoxic and acutely lethal compound, responsible for more than 50 reported fatalities from acute exposure over the last 35 years.
“EDF has advocated for several years for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban both methylene chloride- and NMP-based paint strippers, using its enhanced authority under the reformed Toxic Substance Control Act. In January 2017, EPA proposed to ban methylene chloride and restrict NMP in paint strippers. For over a year, the agency made no effort to finalize these actions – even taking steps to delay any progress.”
Families whose sons died from poisoning by paint strippers containing methylene chloride met with former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to personally ask him to finalize the ban on these products.
One year later, EPA banned toxic paint stripping products, except for commercial uses.
The true heroes in this story are retailers across the nation who’re stepping up to pull toxic solvents from their shelves for all customers, commercial and private.