Methylene chloride, or dichloromethane (DCM), is commonly used as a metal degreaser, a paint stripper and as a component in adhesives. It's also used by workers to remove conformal coatings from printed circuit board components.
High, short-term exposures to methylene chloride can be lethal. Its extreme volatility makes it especially dangerous, since it is very easy to create unsafe airborne concentrations through evaporation. Learn more about methylene chloride.
Due to the serious adverse health effects of methylene chloride, TURI has funded and conducted multiple research projects to find safer alternatives.
Safer Paint Stripping Products Available to Consumers
TURI worked with the U.S. EPA, UMass Lowell researchers, paint stripper product manufacturers, bathtub refinishers and furniture refinishers to identify and test safer solvent blends that have general paint stripping performance comparable to that of methylene chloride based paint strippers.
Consumers in the U.S. and Canada now have a safer alternative to dangerous paint strippers. The new product is marketed under the Super Remover New Generation brand. One of the manufacturing sites will be US Pack in Leominster, Mass.
Conformal Coatings in Electronics
A conformal coating protects components from harsh environments like moisture, dust and temperature extremes. In order to repair the underlying circuit board, workers typically use hazardous volatile solvents, such as methylene chloride, to remove the coating.
The research results of a recent TURI Academic Research Grant project identified safer alternatives to methylene chloride used to remove conformal coatings on printed circuit boards. The study, led by Assistant Professor Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen of the Plastics Engineering Department at UMass Lowell in partnership with Raytheon Company, was recently published in Polymers Journal. Read the article, Removing Acrylic Conformal Coating with Safer Solvents for Re-Manufacturing Electronics.