Heeding calls from advocates, one of the nation’s largest home improvement stores says it will remove certain products with possible links to developmental disabilities from its shelves.
Lowe’s said late last month it will stop selling paint removal products containing the chemicals methylene chloride, or DCM, and N-methyl pyrrolidone, or NMP, by the end of the year.
Children who are exposed to the chemicals during pregnancy face a higher risk of development issues that can contribute to learning and developmental disabilities, according to advocates
In April, a coalition of groups including The Arc, the Autism Society of America and the American Network of Community Options and Resources, or ANCOR, wrote to Lowe’s chairman and CEO Robert A. Niblock asking the company to halt sales of the products.
“Scientific evidence from multiple studies shows that both men’s and women’s exposures to toxic solvents including DCM and NMP are linked to lasting problems with brain development, cognition and behavior in their children,” the groups wrote. “We ask that you take action now to help protect people’s health and lives, especially those of childbearing age, by phasing out the sale of these toxic products within six months or less.”
The Environmental Protection Agency had proposed a ban on the chemicals, but put the plan on indefinite hold last year, the advocacy groups said.
Lowe’s did not specifically cite the disability groups’ concerns in its announcement but said the company is committed to working with the EPA on establishing a consistent industry standard while also encouraging vendors to improve labeling.
The retailer indicated that it already offers several paint removal options that do not contain methylene chloride and plans to add more.
“We care deeply about the health and safety of our customers, and great progress is being made in the development of safer and more effective alternatives,” said Mike McDermott, chief customer officer at Lowe’s. “As a home improvement leader, we recognize the need for viable paint removal products and remain committed to working closely with suppliers to further innovate in this category.”