SAN DIEGO, CA – The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) announced today “The Dirty Dozen” employers of 2018, highlighting companies that put workers and communities at risk due to unsafe practices.
Lowe’s Home Improvement made this year’s list after more than 50 people died from exposure to paint strippers containing methylene chloride.
A Charleston man, Drew Wynne, died in October 2017 after using the product Goof Off, which he bought from Lowe’s.
His family has joined the push to ban the chemical and is encouraging stores to remove products from its shelves.
“My brother didn’t need to die, and we don’t want to see this kind of tragedy happen to other families,” said Brian Wynne in a press release.
A Lowe’s spokesperson released this statement today:
We continue to comply with all state and federal regulations, including those issued by regulatory agencies like the EPA and CPSC. Methylene chloride has historically been the most effective product option for removing paints and varnishes efficiently, which is important in many home improvement projects. We currently offer several alternatives to methylene chloride and are committed to working with our vendors and the EPA to introduce other options with comparable performance. We continue to offer consumer education on the proper use of these chemicals, including safety guides and product packaging instructions from the manufacturer.
“The only response is to remove it from the shelves,” Brian said.
“There’s no mistake that Lowe’s is a retail giant … and it could be a leader in this,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director of National COSH.
“This is something where employers can look at what are the products they’re selling that are putting consumers risk, and what can they be doing to make a difference,” she said.
The Dirty Dozen 2018 report is released in observance of Workers’ Memorial Week, honoring workers who lost their lives on the job, as well as those who have suffered workplace injuries and illnesses.