Walmart to Stop Selling Paint Strippers With Two Toxic Chemicals

(Bloomberg) -- Walmart Inc. is eliminating paint strippers that contain two toxic chemicals from its North American stores, part of a longstanding program to remove potentially dangerous products.

The world’s largest retailer will stop selling paint removers containing methylene chloride and N-Methylpyrrolidone, known as NMP, as soon as February, according to a statement to be released Monday.

While Walmart’s move follows similar action by Lowes Cos., Home Depot Inc. and Sherwin-Williams Co. -- which removed the substances after some customers died using products containing methylene chloride -- the giant retailer has mostly been in the vanguard on the issue. Five years ago, it began phasing out certain chemicals from merchandise, and last year Walmart became the first retailer to participate in the Chemical Footprint Project to track and remove dangerous substances, a huge boost for the four-year-old program.

The Environmental Protection Agency says that even short-term exposure to methylene chloride can harm the central nervous system, while longer-term use can cause liver or lung cancer. Last year, the agency proposed banning the substance in consumer and commercial products. High exposure to NMP, meanwhile, poses a particular risk to women of childbearing age, EPA says.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.