American Coatings Association

California DTSC Proposes Adding Methylene Chloride Paint Strippers to Safer Consumer Products List


California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is proposing the addition of methylene chloride containing paint or varnish strippers as a priority product under the state’s Safer Consumer Products Program.

If approved for addition to the program, companies that make those products with methylene chloride would need to assess safer alternatives to making the products. Ultimately, DTSC could ban the products should no alternative deemed safer be found.

California’s Safer Consumer Products is a regulatory program enacted by state law in September 2008, seeking to reduce the amount of “toxics” in a broad class of consumer products. The law provides that the DTSC regulations must provide a science-based approach for building a list of chemicals that pose the greatest risks, identify products that contain those chemicals, and evaluate products for safer alternatives to specified chemicals. California’s Safer Consumer Products became effective on Oct.1, 2013.

Currently, three priority products are proposed or have been adopted: 1) Children’s Foam-Padded Sleeping Products with TDCPP or TCEP; 2) Spray Polyurethane Foam with Unreacted MDI; and 3) Paint Strippers with Methylene Chloride. DTSC has already finalized regulations for Priority Product 1 and will be completing regulations for Priority Product 2 very soon.

The naming of methylene chloride containing paint strippers as a priority product is an initial phase regulatory step in the program. DTSC will review manufacturer-submitted product information and products and alternative analysis reports before initiating another regulatory action. DTSC will hold a public hearing on the proposed regulation on Jan. 8, 2018, and will be accepting comments on the proposal through Jan. 18.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has associated methylene chloride with adverse health effects has proposed a rule to prohibit methylene chloride in paint and coating removal products.  EPA is also evaluating methylene chloride as one of the first 10 chemical undergoing risk evaluation under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). California issued its proposal on the consumer methylene chloride containing consumer products on Nov. 17.  While the amended TSCA provides federal pre-emption over state restriction of chemicals in commerce, pre-emption would be limited to issues where EPA makes a determination.  California is proceeding with its proposal while EPA continues with its evaluation of methylene chloride.

DTSC recently released its final Alternatives Analysis Guide. The guide is intended to assist  manufacturers going through the process if a manufacturer’s product/chemical combination is chosen as a Priority Product under the Safer Consumer Products Regulations.

Contact ACA’s Riaz Zaman or Raleigh Davis for more information.