The Environmental Protection Agency in the US is proposing bans or restrictions on the use of methylene chloride (dichloromethane) and n-methylpyrrolidone in paint removal products. This measure, announced on January 12, would affect their use in floor refinishing, graffiti removal, bridge repair, marine caraft refinishing and general paint and coatings applications. Dangers the EPA notes with regard to methylene chloride include asphyxiation (causing death), liver toxicity, kidney toxicity, reproductive toxicity, and certain cancers. Some of these, the agency says, result from a very short, acute exposure; others follow years of occupational exposure. For NMP, it says health effects include developmental toxicity (e.g., fetal death or decreased infant birth weight), neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, liver and kidney toxicity and reproductive toxicity. The 277-page proposal on the chemicals calls for a prohibition on their manufacture, importing, processing, and distribution. The agency also wants to restrict the sale of small-volume products and require companies to notify retailers and others in the supply chain regarding such prohibitions, the document notes. Ab exemption is the chemicals’ use in commercial furniture refinishing. The proposal does not cover this application at the present time. A 90-day comment period is now open. Further, the EPA also published proposed rules on January 13 that aim to clarify how it will evaluate chemicals that may pose health and environmental risks, under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which updates the Toxic Substances Control Act.