Select Page

Protestors holding pictures of people who died from use of paint removers, including Drew Wynne, protest outside a Portland, Maine, Lowe’s store on May 10, 2018. They were trying to persuade the retailer to stop selling paint strippers containing methylene chloride

The voluntary action of large retailers is a positive sign for consumers concerned if their health in light of inaction by the government.
The takeaway of this fragmented outcome of action is an old one. Corporate money is powerful. Corporate fiscal interests outweigh public health. Most unfortunately, and disappointedly, the human instinct to protect one another is overpowered by the capitulation to greed and fear of losing political stature by government employees and elected officials.

All of this is most evident in the current administration, but it’s nothing new.


In October 2017, Drew Wynne collapsed inside a walk-in refrigerator at his coffee business in North Charleston, S.C. By the time his business partner found him crumpled on the floor, Wynne was dead. He had suffocated on a chemical called methylene chloride.

The 31-year-old’s death is one of dozens blamed on popular paint removers sold under the brand names Goof-Off, Strypeeze, Klean Strip and Jasco among others.

In recent months, some retailers have said they will stop selling products that contain methylene chloride, also known as DCM, and a second chemical, N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone, or NMP. But under the Trump administration, federal regulators have repeatedly delayed a ban that has been in the works for years.

The EPA began a risk assessment of methylene chloride in 2014. In January 2017 the agency proposed banning the use of methylene chloride and NMP in paint removers. In the proposed rule, the agency wrote that the chemicals posed “unreasonable risks” to consumers.

Since 1980, more than 50 deaths had been attributed to methylene chloride, according to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and Slate.

Listen to, and read the full article…