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“Dirty Dozen” Company Cleans Up its Shelves

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Press Contacts: 

Roger Kerson, 734-645-0535; roger@nationalcosh.org

“Dirty Dozen” Company Cleans Up its Shelves
National COSH Congratulates Lowe’s on Removal
of Products with Deadly Methylene Chloride
 

SAN DIEGO, CA – The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) congratulated Lowe’s Home Improvement today for the company’s decision to remove paint stripping products containing the toxic chemicals methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) from its shelves by the end of 2018.

“Workers and consumers will be safer once deadly chemicals are no longer for sale at one of the world’s largest retailers,” said Jessica Martinez, co-executive director of National COSH. “The Safer Chemicals, Healthier Families coalition did outstanding work in calling attention to a tragic, preventable health hazard. We’re proud to have joined this effort and we congratulate Lowe’s for listening to our concerns and taking action.”

In April, National COSH named Lowe’s as a “Dirty Dozen” company for 2018, due to ongoing sales of products containing methylene chloride, which can be highly toxic even in small doses. More than 60 deaths have been linked to methylene chloride since 1980 and at least four people have died from exposure since the beginning of 2017. 

Earlier this month, Wendy Hartley, Cindy Wynne and Lauren Atkins – three mothers who each lost a son to the fatal effects of methylene chloride - visited Washington, DC to meet with legislators and federal regulators. Telling the stories of Wendy’s son Kevin, Cindy’s son Drew and Lauren’s son Joshua, they called for urgent action to prevent any more families from suffering similar tragedies.

Vapors from methylene chloride and NMP can be especially deadly when used by workers or consumers when working in unventilated and confined spaces. Several worker deaths occurred recently during the stripping of bathroom fixtures, because this work often takes place in small rooms with limited ventilation.

“This is exactly why we publish the “Dirty Dozen,” so that companies have an opportunity to clean up their practices and remove avoidable risks from our homes and workplaces,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, also a co-executive director of National COSH. “Now it’s time for Home Depot, Walmart, Menard’s and others to stop selling products that can harm or kill the people who use them. The EPA must also move swiftly to finalize a nationwide ban on methylene chloride and NMP.”

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National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit coshnetwork.org. Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.