The Environmental Protection Agency has moved to finalize a proposal to ban the use of methylene chloride by consumers, advancing the measure to the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The proposal to ban the chemical, which is used in paint stripping products and has been linked to several deaths, has been shelved since January 2017.
Multiple retail outlets in the U.S. announced they would remove all products containing the chemical from shelves in 2018, including Lowe’s, The Home Depot and Sherwin-Williams.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the exact content of the rule EPA sent to OMB is not yet known, but the EPA appears to have limited the ban to consumer uses even though workers constitute the great majority of reported deaths from the use of these products.
“For the families around the country who have lost loved ones to methylene chloride exposure, this is at best a half-step forward in getting these deadly paint strippers off the market,” Environmental Defense Fund Project Manager Lindsay McCormick said in a statement.
In October, several families of victims, along with Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, an organization that has been advocating for the banning of the methylene chloride, filed a lawsuit against the EPA for its delay in banning the chemical.