WASHINGTON – The Ecology Protection Bureau signaled on Thursday it will chase through on an Obama-era angle to ban acrylic strippers absolute a baneful actinic – abrogation lawmakers, ecology groups and the families of victims carefully optimistic.
Since demography office, Pruitt has been laser-focused on accident ecology and assurance rules proposed by above Admiral Barack Obama’s administration. But the EPA’s advertisement that it “intends to finalize” a proposed ban on methylene chloride would be the exception.
“Today’s advertisement demonstrates EPA’s charge to agree the methylene chloride rule-making,” the EPA said in a statement.
The chemical, acclimated by able contractors and do-it-yourselfers to abolish paint, has been affiliated to dozens of deaths – including 12 bodies who specialize in refinishing bathtubs amid 2000 and 2011 , according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
But advocates of the ban aloof full-throated acclaim until the rule’s accent is fabricated accessible and submitted to the White House’s Appointment of Administration and Budget, which the EPA said will appear “shortly.”
Sarah Vogel, carnality admiral for bloom at The Ecology Defense Fund, said the nonprofit advancement accumulation was “encouraged” by the EPA’s accommodation but apprenticed the bureau to move bound to formally block the admission to the chemical.
“We and families beyond this country will be watching carefully to accomplish abiding this administering absolutely delivers on today’s affiance from Ambassador Pruitt,” Vogel said. “We will adjournment any anniversary until acrylic strippers absolute this baleful actinic are absolutely off the market.”
The EPA aboriginal proposed banning the use of methylene chloride in acrylic and blanket abatement articles in the crumbling canicule of above admiral Barack Obama’s additional term. A year earlier, Congress had accepted the EPA new admiral to bind the use of that and added chemicals in an alteration to the 1976 Baneful Substances Control Act, the nation’s capital actinic assurance law.
But in December, the Pruitt’s EPA indefinitely adjourned bans on assertive uses of methylene chloride and two added baleful chemicals generally begin in customer products. For a time, it seemed like the ban headed to the debris bin, forth with abounding added Obama-era rules afterwards Admiral Donald Trump’s election.
That adjournment in December kicked off an accomplishment to deliver it.
Several Democratic assembly asked Pruitt about the actinic and apprenticed him to ban it in a brace of hearings on Capitol Hill aftermost month. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.Y., invoked the deaths of Drew Wynne and Joshua Atkins, who both died from methylene chloride exposure. Pallone asked Pruitt if he had annihilation to say to those families accustomed the abridgement of EPA action.
Pruitt didn’t anon abode that question, but he fabricated bright that the bureau hadn’t alone its appraisal of the chemical’s safety. “There has been no accommodation at this time,” he said at the April 26 hearing.
That did little to amuse Pallone. “Look, you say you’re activity to do something, but these chemicals are still on the shelves, and they accomplish a apology of [chemical reform] legislation that this board works so adamantine on,” Pallone said. “And it makes a apology of EPA. You accept the ability anon to get this actinic off the shelves. And you’re not accomplishing it. And you should do it.”
Later that day, addition Democrat from New York, Rep. Nita Lowey, accused Pruitt of “strategically craving programs that analyze chemicals that could be adverse to children, while rolling aback and dabbling regulations for baleful chemicals.”
Pruitt replied that the bureau was reviewing the comments of the angle to ban the chemical. “I booty this affair actual seriously,” he said.
The lobbying accomplishment additionally connected abaft the scenes.
After the hearings, the Ecology Defense Fund contacted Pruitt’s appointment on account of the families of Wynne and Kevin Hartley, addition man who died from methylene chloride exposure. The accumulation asked for a affair with the administrator.
“I capital to use Kevin’s adventure to try to save added lives,” Wendy Hartley, Kevin’s mother, told The Post in an interview. “We do not charge anymore lives absent due to this. And if I could acquaint Kevin’s adventure and get addition to accept to it and do article about, again I was accommodating to acquaint his story.”
Pruitt has met with few ecology groups throughout his tenure, added generally appointment with industry representatives. But he agreed to accommodated with the mothers.
So this accomplished Tuesday morning, Wendy Hartley, forth with Cindy Wynne and her added son Brian Wynne, met Pruitt and several of his aides at his appointment in EPA headquarters.
The families brought with them photographs and the afterlife certificates of the two men, and explained to Pruitt what happened to them.
Wynne, 31, was active a algid beverage coffee business in Charleston, S.outh Carolina, back he died aftermost year while stripping acrylic from the attic of a applicant refrigerator application a artefact alleged Goof Off. Hartley, 21, was a accomplished architect who died aftermost year while refinishing a bathtub with White Lightning Low Odor Stripper abreast Nashville. Both men both were cutting respirators back they died.
Pruitt “was actual alert to us,” Cindy Wynne told The Post in an account beforehand this anniversary afore the EPA’s announcement. “He was somewhat afraid back we showed him the cans from Lowe’s,” area her son had purchased the acrylic stripper.
Her son, Brian, asked Pruitt if he agreed that methylene chloride was a problem. Pruitt responded, “I do.”
But back apprenticed on whether he would agree the ban, the ambassador did not accomplish a commitment, the ancestors associates said.
“We all accept the aforementioned faculty that for a moment there, we acquainted like there was absolute momentum,” Brian Wynne said. “And again that went out of the allowance appealing bound back he was abiding adjoin the chat ‘ban.’ ”
In an account afterwards the advertisement Thursday, the brother said he was now “cautiously optimistic” that Pruitt would chase through.
“This is a absolute development,” Brian Wynne said. “It was a hasty one. We absolutely didn’t see this advancing in our affair with Ambassador Pruitt. But we’re absolutely encouraged by this assurance that he seems accessible to booty action.”
The EPA said the “meeting with the families was constructive.”
“It provided the families the befalling to allotment with Ambassador Pruitt the affairs in anniversary of their cases and the Ambassador the befalling to apprehend anon from them,” the bureau said in a statement. “There was an barter of ideas, and we acknowledge EDF extensive out to appeal the meeting.”
Public bloom and ecology groups additionally admiring but cautioned that added assignment needs to be done. Vogel apprenticed the EPA to “move bound to apparatus a ban, and that includes ensuring all-important authoritative procedures are followed to agreement a abiding ban and that these articles are promptly removed from abundance shelves.”
The EPA said it will not accommodate a 2014 accident assessments that bent inhaling the paint-stripping effluvium is dangerous. “The bureau is not re-evaluating the acrylic stripping uses of methylene chloride, but relying on its antecedent accident assessments and alive agilely to ensure the assurance of chemicals in the marketplace,” it said.
On Thursday, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., the top Democrat on the Environment and Accessible Works Committee, alleged the EPA’s advertisement “welcome news, abnormally afterwards the bureau advanced delayed achievement of this proposed ban indefinitely.”
“I am additionally encouraged that the bureau is relying on antecedent accident assessments that acutely and scientifically showed aloof how aggressive articles absolute methylene chloride could be to people’s bloom and safety,” Carper added in a statement. “However, aloof like a law doesn’t beggarly abundant if it is not enforced, intentions to agree a ban on a baleful actinic don’t beggarly abundant if that actinic stays on the shelves.”
The American Chemistry Council, the capital barter affiliation for U.S. actinic companies, greeted the move with aerial acceptance.
“EPA has ascendancy to move advanced on specific altitude of use,” agent Jon Corley said in a statement. “ACC supports EPA’s achievement of the accident administration rule-making on methylene chloride and advertisement of a final rule.”
Methylene chloride can annihilate either through absolute befuddlement or through metabolization into carbon monoxide, which binds to claret in the claret and inhibits oxygen from affective about the body. Acknowledgment to as little as six ounces can kill, according to the Occupational Assurance and Bloom Administration.
The heavier-than-air actinic can basin in places with poor ventilation, like bathrooms. “But now we’re seeing added and added case in added types of bedfast spaces,” said Lindsay McCormick, a activity administrator for EDF’s bloom program.
In 1997, OSHA issued its own brake on the chemical’s use in workplaces. But those standards did not awning approved consumers, who can buy methylene chloride articles at best accouterments stores.
Published: May 10, 2018 — 6:12 PM EDT
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