Brussels, 14th February 2008
Partial ban for paint strippers containing
The European Commission has proposed today to
restrict the sale and use of paint strippers containing dichloromethane. Such
paint removers, are used in industry and are also sold in
“Do-It-Yourself” stores accessible to everybody. Dichloromethane
vapour is toxic to the central nervous system and the Commission’s
proposal follows concerns of some experts that a number of accidents and
fatalities which have occurred in recent years in the EU have been linked to use
of the substance. The Commission therefore proposes to ban the sale of such
paint strippers to the general public and professional users. However, taking
account of other expert opinion that this substance may be safely used by
professionals if adequate precautions are taken, Member States may permit their
purchase and use by licensed professionals who have received appropriate
training. For industrial activities, their use will be permitted under strictly
controlled conditions. The formal adoption by the European Parliament and the
Council is expected by the end of the year.
Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise
and industry policy, said: “Our proposal will achieve a high level of
protection of human health and will provide an important measure of added safety
for consumers and workers”.
Risks from dichloromethane in paint strippers have been assessed in several
studies conducted by the Commission. They concluded that measures to reduce the
risk connected to the use of dichloromethane are necessary throughout the EU.
Between 1989 and 2007, a significant number of fatalities and accidents have
been registered in the EU from the use of such paint strippers caused by
inadequate ventilation and inappropriate personal protective equipment.
Several EU Member States have already put in place national measures to
control the risks of dichloromethane in paint strippers and Germany has recently
notified restriction measures to the Commission.
The Commission proposal aims:
- to ban the use by consumers, who are least aware of the dangers of
dichloromethane and who have least access to protective equipment;
- to ban in general the use by professionals operating outside industrial
premises, but Member States can opt to allow further use by professionals
with adequate training and license to operate;
- to increase protection of workers during industrial use of such paint
strippers through compulsory use of protective equipment (gloves and masks) as
well as the modification of the operational strip tanks and adequate ventilation
at the workplace;
- to avoid further divergent actions by Member States which create
obstacles to the internal market without benefit for the protection of all
The Commission has consulted all relevant
stakeholders in the preparation of the proposal. The measures have been
evaluated in a Commission impact assessment and were found to be most effective
and proportionate compared to other available options.
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