Walmart: Stop selling deadly paint strippers

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More than 60 families across the U.S. have lost loved ones to a dangerous chemical called methylene chloride. This toxic chemical is found in many paint strippers. Exposure can kill within minutes. Long-term exposure has been linked to liver toxicity, liver cancer, and lung cancer.

Yet you can walk into Walmart stores today and buy paint stripper products containing this chemical and another one called N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP), which is known to cause miscarriage and stillbirth.

In recent months, three of the nation’s largest retailers—The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sherwin-Williams—have committed to stop selling paint strippers containing these chemicals in all of their stores worldwide. In contrast, Walmart has announced no plans to stop selling them, even though safer alternatives are available.

Recently at least four men in the U.S. have died while using paint strippers containing methylene chloride. Most recently, 31-year-old Joshua Atkins died while refinishing his BMX bike. He was the picture of health—an avid biker and snowboarder—but he passed away from using a paint stripper. Walmart sells some of the same type of products that killed these men.

Because methylene chloride and NMP are so dangerous, in January 2017 the EPA proposed banning them from paint strippers. But a year and a half later, Trump’s EPA has yet to finalize the proposal. Methylene chloride is already banned from paint strippers in the European Union, which has also restricted NMP.

Walmart is the world’s largest retailer and has already curbed the use of other toxic chemicals in the products it sells. To its credit, the company has significantly reduced the use of certain toxic chemicals by 96% by weight in the U.S. over the past five years.

But so far, it has not taken action on deadly paint strippers.

To protect its customers, Walmart should join other retailers—The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sherwin-Williams—and stop selling paint strippers that contain these dangerous chemicals.



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