WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday it had issued a final rule to prohibit the manufacture, import, processing and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers for consumer use.

Exposure to methylene chloride fumes can rapidly cause dizziness, loss of consciousness and death due to nervous system depression, the agency said in a statement. People have died after being incapacitated during paint and coating removal with methylene chloride, it said.

The prohibition on consumer sales starts 180 days after the effective date of the final rule, which provides time for establishments selling this chemical to consumers to come into compliance with the agency’s ban, the statement said.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)