Lowes commits to phasing out paint stripper which contained chemical that killed N. Charleston man

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Natural Resources Defense Council says home improvement store chain Lowes has decided to start pulling deadly paint strippers made with methylene chloride from the shelves.

It's the same chemical that killed Drew Wynne, who was using it at his North Charleston coffee shop, according to the coroner's report.

"Of course we were elated," said Cindy Wynne, Drew's mother, after hearing the move by Lowes."They have known for many, many years that this is a very dangerous chemical and it shouldn't be out there,"

A police report describing the incident said EMS and police officers "needed to be removed from the scene due to the overwhelming chemical odor."

They notified the fire department and HAZMAT team.

"It was determined that the victim was using 'Goof Off' paint stripper. Two cans were located inside of the unit. The ingredient of Methylene chloride is contained in the paint stripper bottle and is very toxic according to the warning label," said the officer's report.

The EPA proposed banning DCM from consumer products in 2017 but that rule was delayed.

Wynne's family believes it's past time for action.

"It's mixed,"Cindy Wynne said."We're happy that other consumers will be saved, saddened that EPA  and Lowes and chemical companies didn't put limits on this in previous years,"

"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," Lowe's chief customer officer Mike McDermott said in a statement. "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."

Wynne says she wants even more done in the wake of her son's death.

She wants the EPA to ban methylene chloride.

"I just hope for the ban and I hope all the other retailers in the meantime, even before the ban, take the initiative of getting this off the shelves," Wynne said.

Wynne says she and two other moms whose sons died from Methylene chloride recently met with the EPA administrator and are hopeful the chemical will soon be banned.

South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott issued a statement after hearing about Lowes' decision to remove the paint stripper from their stores.

"I cannot imagine the incredible pain the Wynne family had to endure when they suffered the loss of a loved one and I commend the advocacy efforts they have taken on to make sure similar incidents do not happen in the future. Their voice has been heard and I am very glad that Lowe's has taken the initiative to remove this chemical from their shelves. I will continue to back the Wynne family's efforts and will monitor this issue as it progresses."

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.