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June 25, 0220

EPA Publishes Final Risk Evaluation for Methylene Chloride

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Federal Register notice on June 24, 2020, announcing the availability of the final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluation for methylene chloride.  85 Fed. Reg. 37942.  This is the first risk evaluation that EPA has completed under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) amendments to TSCA.  After evaluating 53 conditions of use of methylene chloride, EPA determined that six conditions of use do not present an unreasonable risk of injury to health, while 47 present an unreasonable risk.  EPA also determined that methylene chloride does not present an unreasonable risk to the environment under the conditions of use.  In its June 19, 2020, press release, EPA notes that the next step in the process required by TSCA is addressing the identified risks.  According to EPA, there are several actions it could take to address these risks, including regulations to prohibit or limit the manufacture, processing, distribution in the marketplace, use, or disposal of this chemical substance, as applicable.  EPA will now begin the process of developing ways to address the unreasonable risks identified and has up to one year to propose and take public comments on any risk management actions.  EPA states that as with any chemical product, it “strongly recommends that users continue to carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label/safety data sheet.”  As reported in our November 22, 2019, blog item, EPA’s March 27, 2019, final regulation prohibited the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers for consumer use after November 22, 2019.  More information on the final risk evaluation for methylene chloride will be available in a forthcoming memorandum that will be posted on our website.