Biden’s EPA Planning to Ban Methylene Chloride, an Industry-Essential Chemical

2024-01-26 16:00:32

I did not think Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under environmental-justice-extremist administrator Michael Regan could unleash more destruction on American industry.

I. Was. Wrong.

The EPA is now planning to ban an industry-essential chemical, methylene chloride, with serious ramifications on the economy and national security.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed on Thursday to ban most uses of a toxic chemical used in paint removal.

The proposal would ban most industrial and commercial uses of methylene chloride, which, in addition to paint removal, is used as a solvent in making pharmaceuticals and in electronics.

One study found that methylene-chloride exposure killed 85 people between 1980 and 2018. The substance has also been linked to certain cancers.

The new proposal, from the Biden administration, goes further than a Trump administration rule that banned the sale to consumers of paint strippers using methylene chloride but did not address its industrial uses.

Where do I even begin with this hot mess of a policy directive? As an environmental health and safety professional, I have been assisting my clients with the safety and environmental requirements for using methylene chloride. All chemicals can be used safety with the correct combination of engineering controls, administrative practices, and personal protective equipment.

Methylene Chloride is an important organic solvent that has wide application in an array of industries. Here are a few examples:

  • Methylene chloride is used as an extraction solvent in the food and beverage manufacturing industry. For example, methylene chloride can be used to remove caffeine from unroasted coffee beans and tea leaves, to make decaffeinated coffee and tea.
  • Methylene chloride also is used in processing spices, creating hops extract for beer and other flavorings for the food and beverage industries.
  • Methylene chloride can be used to degrease metal surfaces and parts, such as airplane components and railroad tracks and equipment. Lubricating and degreasing products used in automotive products, for example in gasket removal and for prepping metal parts for a new gasket, could contain methylene chloride.
  • Automotive specialists use a vapor methylene chloride degreasing process to remove oils and grease from car transistor parts, diesel motors and aircraft components and spacecraft assemblies.
  • In laboratories, methylene chloride is used to extract chemicals from plants or foods for medicine such as steroids, antibiotics and vitamins.
  • Medical equipment can be quickly and efficiently cleaned with methylene chloride cleaners without causing corrosion problems or damage to heat-sensitive parts.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), American Petroleum Institute, and Ohio Manufacturers’ Association (OMA) are sounding the alarm at this highly disturbing regulatory mandate. Furthermore, these organizations also assert that the impact analysis did not include the detrimental effects on the national economy.

“OMA can appreciate EPA’s desire to restrict use of methylene chloride to the general public, retailers, and consumers such as home contractors/remodelers who may not be fully aware of the necessary precautions to safely use this chemical,” OMA stated in its comment letter. “However, this proposed rule is a case of ‘throwing-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater.’”

“We have grave concerns that EPA is going beyond its statutory authority with this rule, and usurping [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA)] authority to regulate workplace safety by replacing OSHA’s limits with EPA’s own limits and practices,” it continued. “Therefore, we urge in the strongest terms that the final rule exempts commercial and industrial sectors, that are already highly regulated by OSHA.”

…In addition, the NFIB, which is the largest U.S. small business group, stated the regulations would have “business-closing and job-killing” impacts. The group argued the EPA should withdraw the rule since its determination of health impacts is “fatally flawed,” there isn’t a viable replacement for MCL and the EPA failed to properly study the impact on the national economy.

The move also threatens the nations military readiness, and defense department equipment requires the use of methylene chloride for production. Supplies, my default, would then need to come from China and other foreign manufacturers.

President Joe Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency last year unveiled rule proposals aimed at banning certain chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act. At least one chemical on the chopping block—methylene chloride—is used to produce military equipment such as bulletproof glass, helmets, and fighter jet canopies. As a result, companies that rely on the chemical to produce such products are sounding the alarm, with polymer manufacturer Covestro arguing in a June letter to the EPA that the ban would “require military and police related applications to be manufactured from foreign sourced materials.”

The proposed ban comes as China works to ramp up its chemical production.

The Biden administration has taken a blow-torch to the rule-of-law through its abuse of the powers of regulating agencies. This is perhaps one of the most chilling and destructive of the eco-extremist policies that will poison the economy.

One last note: I am sorry about 85 people dying from methylene chloride exposure each year. However, over 2400 die of alcohol poisoning annually.  ALL CHEMICALS – INCLUDING WATER – can be toxic if misued.  We can’t regulate people into making good choices 100% of the time.


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