EPA bans consumer sales of paint stripper linked to deaths

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency is banning consumer sales of a paint stripper after personal appeals by families of men who died while using the product.

The final rule announced Friday bars the manufacture and import of consumer products containing methylene chloride. The products have been popular with do-it-yourselfers.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the product "extremely hazardous." The EPA is urging consumers not to use it.

The consumer bans begins 180 days after the rule is published. The EPA says it expects retailers to implement it sooner.

The rule doesn't affect commercial uses.

California says it's tracked at least five deaths since 2014 among people overcome by the fumes from methylene chloride.

Families of victims had met with Trump administration officials and lawmakers urging the ban.

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