OSHA warns about hazards of methylene chloride in new alert

OSHA warns about hazards

of methylene chloride

paint stripper in new alert

August 17, 2016

Photo (above): Paint remover is applied to an aircraft's landing gear during an inspection looking for cracks in the aluminum

Photo (below): California Department of Public Health

Washington – OSHA is warning workers of the dangers

of methylene chloride after a temporary worker

died from exposure to the chemical.

The hazard alert is, part of OSHA’s Fatal Facts (https://www.osha.gov/Publications/fatalfacts.html)

A temporary worker was using a common paint stripper to re- move bathtub coating in a small bathroom in an apartment building. A window was partially open for ventilation. The solution the worker was using contained 85 percent to 90 percent methylene chloride.

The worker was found unconscious two hours after the project began. His cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation with acute methylene chloride toxicity.

OSHA advises employers to use safer alternatives

(http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/ohb/Documents/Paint- RemovalPoster.pdf )
to methylene chloride, including water- and vegetable-based products, when available. If a safer alternative is not available, then the agency directs employers to implement the requirements in OSHA’s Methylene Chloride Standard, as well as all other applicable OSHA standards to protect workers. To prevent worker fatalities when using methylene chloride paint stripping products, OSHA advises employers to:

  • Perform monitoring and air sampling to determine exposure to methylene chloride.
  • Establish and implement a respiratory protection program.
  • Provide adequate ventilation (bathroom fans or open windows are not con- sidered     adequate).
  • Provide and maintain effective engineering and work practice controls.
  • Provide and enforce the use of proper personal protective equipment.
  • Provide essential methylene chloride hazard training to workers.

Safety+Health at OSHA

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Solvent-based Paint Stripper

Solvent paint strippers penetrate the layers of paint and break the bond between the paint and the object by swelling the paint.

The principal active ingredient in historically common solvent paint strippers is dichloromethane, also called methylene chloride, which has serious health risks including death, is likely a carcinogen, and other risks.  (Wikpedia)

also of interest:


CPI analysis identified at least 56 accidental exposure deaths linked to methylene chloride since 1980. The most recent was in July."


published by the 'Center for Public Integrity', a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news  organization in Washington.