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Lowe's will end sales of paint strippers with chemicals blamed in deaths

Jeff Himler
| Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 4:15 a.m.
Lowe's Home Improvement
Michael Dwyer/AP
Lowe's Home Improvement

The Lowe's home improvement chain has announced it will end sales of paint strippers containing chemicals that have been blamed in dozens of deaths.

In 2016, the Obama administration concluded the chemicals methylene chloride and NMP (N-Methylpyrrolidone) represented “unreasonable risks” and moved to ban them from use in paint strippers. The Environmental Protection Agency has been considering such a ban.

Lowe's said by the end of the year it will voluntarily remove from its shelves products that contain either of the chemicals. The products are sold under brand names including Klean-Strip, Goof Off and Jasco.

“We care deeply about the health and safety of our customers, and great progress is being made in the development of safer and more effective alternatives,” Mike McDermott, Lowe's chief customer officer, said Tuesday in a news release.

He said the retailer intends to work with the EPA and non-governmental organizations to market alternatives to the chemicals.

An investigation by the Center for Public Integrity in 2015 found that more than 50 people had died since 1980 while using methylene chloride — often in paint strippers.

N-Methylpyrrolidone is a solvent that has been linked to miscarriages and low birth weights , according to the EPA.

The Lowe's move comes after a change.org petition drive pushing the company to end the paint stripper sales was initiated by the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition and by the parents of Drew Wynne, whose October 2017 death in Charleston, S.C., was attributed to methylene chloride fumes from a paint stripper.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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