June 19: This article has been updated.
Home-improvement giant Lowe’s is phasing out paint-removal products with methylene chloride, responding to petitions in the wake of deaths caused by the chemical.
The company’s decision, announced today, will get the products off store shelves by the end of this year. As their fumes build up in bathrooms, basements and other enclosed areas, they can kill: A Center for Public Integrity investigation in 2015 found that more than 50 people died since 1980 using methylene chloride — often in paint strippers — for work or personal projects.
Since last year, at least four people have been found dead midway through projects in which they used such paint removers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had been slow-walking a would-be ban, proposed shortly before President Donald Trump’s inauguration. But earlier this month, the agency said it would push forward with a rule targeting the chemical, a turnaround after officials there came under pressure from members of Congress and survivors of recent victims.