Mooresville-based Lowe's said Tuesday it will phase out sales of paint strippers containing methylene chloride and the solvent NMP by year's end. The move comes amid a push by environmental groups to outlaw the chemicals, which can be lethal if inhaled.
The home improvement retailer also says it will work with the EPA to develop new regulatory standards for paint removers.
“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,” Lowe's chief customer officer Mike McDermott said in the announcement. “As a home improvement leader, we recognize the need for viable paint removal products and remain committed to working closely with suppliers to further innovate in this category.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council says Lowe's is the first major retailer to stop selling the products. The organization says at least four people have died in the past 16 months after inhaling the fumes. The NRDC says it gathered 200,000 consumers' signatures on a petition urging Lowe's to take this action. And it has been pushing the EPA to follow through on an Obama-era plan to ban the chemicals in paint strippers.
Lowe's says it already sells other products without the chemicals and plans to add more by the end of the year.