Courtesy Adobe Stock
Courtesy Adobe Stock
Courtesy Adobe Stock

Home-improvement retailer Menards has stopped purchasing paint removers that contain methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), two chemicals blamed in dozens of deaths, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Menards was petitioned by several advocacy groups and joins Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's, Sherwin-Williams, and AutoZone as companies that have stopped buying paint removers with the dangerous chemicals. A Menards spokesperson indicated to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the retailer had stopped buying products with the chemicals in 2018, but it is difficult to say how long it will take to exhaust existing supplies of such paint strippers.

Both chemicals, methylene chloride and NMP, are under review by federal regulators, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

At the end of the Obama administration, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that it found the chemicals represented an “unreasonable risk” and began steps to ban them from most paint stripping uses.

The EPA said with acute exposures, methylene chloride primarily affects the brain and can cause dizziness and loss of consciousness. It can also damage the lungs, liver and kidneys. Cancer risks include liver cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Since 1976, more than 40 deaths had been attributed to methylene chloride when people used them for removing paints and other coatings.

In December, the EPA under the Trump administration moved ahead with plans to ban the chemicals for use by consumers, but commercial operators could still use the paint strippers with training.

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