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Methylene Chloride

Methylene Chloride             

Methylene chloride, or dichloromethane (DCM), is a chlorinated solvent commonly used as a metal degreaser, a chemical intermediate, a reaction or extraction solvent, a paint stripper, and as a component in adhesives. Consumer products that can be purchased at local automotive and hardware stores, such as aerosol parts cleaners and paint strippers, may contain methylene chloride.

Methylene chloride exposure can result in serious adverse health effects including organ toxicity, effects on the central nervous system, cardiovascular effects and possibly cancer. High, short-term exposures can be lethal. Its extreme volatility makes it especially dangerous, since it is very easy to create unsafe airborne concentrations through evaporation. 

Methylene chloride is designated as a Higher Hazard Substance under TURA, which lowers the reporting threshold to 1,000 lb/year, effective January 2014.

Information about and alternatives to Methylene Chloride

TURA Program Resources         

Other Resources

Information about Paint Stripping       

Information about Bathtub Refinishing  

                             

Information prepared by the TURA program

Content Category Publication Type Title Year Description
Overview Fact Sheet Methylene Chloride Fact Sheet 2014 TURI Chemical Fact Sheets describe the hazards, exposure routes, uses and alternatives, and regulatory context for selected chemicals.
Policy Policy Analysis Methylene Chloride Policy Analysis 2013 TURA Policy Analyses are developed as background for state-level decision-making about individual chemicals, chemical classes, and industry sectors.
Alternatives Assessment Presentation Methylene Chloride Project: Better Solutions for Paint Stripping 2014 Preliminary results of testing of commercially available paint stripping products.
Source Reduction Article Source reduction for prevention of methylene chloride hazards: cases from four industrial sectors 2003 An investigation of four cases of source reduction as a hazard prevention strategy in Massachusetts companies that had used methylene chloride, an occupational carcinogen, for cleaning and adhesive thinning. 
Process Change Case Study Crest Foam - Elimination of Methylene Chloride Use in Manufacturing Process 1997 The company eliminated the use of 190,000 lbs./year of methylene chloride by installing an innovative foam manufacturing process called the "Cardio Process". The Cardio Process uses CO2 instead of methylene chloride or CFC-11 as the auxiliary blowing agent.

 

Other Resources

Source Title Year Published Description
OSHA  Safety and Health Topics   Employer responsibilities and workers' rights information, as well as information specific to paint stripping and bathub refinishing.
NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topics Updated 2013 Worker health and safety and mitigation information, along with other resources.

Paint Stripping

Source Title Year Published Description
The Center for Construction Research and Training Resources to Protect Workers from Methylene Chloride (Paint Strippers)   Resources for safer alternatives and job site safety procedures.
California Department of Public Health Toxic Paint Removers: Safer Alternatives 2016 Video case study that demonstrates the hazards of using methylene chloride and safer alternatives that are available.
California Department of Public Health Preventing Worker Deaths from Paint Strippers Containing Methylene Chloride   Overview of worker and workplace safety when using methylene chloride.
European Commission's Directorate-General Enterprise & Industry Impact Assessment of Potential Restrictions on the Marketing and Use of Dichloromethane in Paint Strippers 2007 This report assesses the impact on industry from increased regulatory restrictions on the use of methylene chloride in paint stripping applications. The assessment includes an extensive review of available alternatives, including environmental and human health hazard assessments.
California Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substances Control Priority Product Profile: Paint Strippers Containing Methylene Chloride 2014 In March 2014, the Department of Toxic Substances Control announced that paint strippers containing methylene chloride were proposed by the agency as a priority product and subject to the Safer Consumer Products regulation that requires manufacturers or other responsible entities to seek safer alternatives. This report profiles the Agency’s rationale for proposing methylene chloride- containing paint strippers as a priority product, including a review of health impacts and available alternatives.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission What You Should Know About Using Paint Strippers 2013 This fact sheet is a useful resource for consumers regarding the hazards of over-the-counter paint stripping products and precautions that should be employed when using these products. Different paint stripping products are reviewed.
European Commission's Directorate-General Enterprise and Industry Impact Assessment of Potential Restrictions on the Marketing and Use of Dichloromethane in Paint Strippers 2007 This report assesses the impact on industry from increased regulatory restrictions on the use of methylene chloride in paint stripping applications. The assessment includes an extensive review of available alternatives, including environmental and human health hazard assessments.
Institute for Research & Technical Assistance Methylene Chloride Consumer Product Paint Strippers: Low VOC, Low Toxicity Alternatives 2006 This report prepared for the California’s Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substances Control conducts an alternatives assessment on methylene chloride containing paint-strippers and reviews the hazards, technical and economic feasibility of an array of alternatives.

Bathtub Refinishing

Source Title Year Published Description
OSHA Methylene Chloride Hazards for Bathtub Refinishers   An overview of the effects of methylene chloride in bathtub stripping products.
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Methylene Chloride used in bathtub refinishing   An overview of Methylene Chloride use in bathtub refinishing and its health and safety issues, alternatives to methylene chloride in bathtub refinishing, and additional resources.
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Successful Bathtub Stripping using Sanding as an Alternative to Methylene Chlorine 2013 Instructions for using sanding to remove paint in bathtubs and a description of the benefits of using sanding in place of Methylene Chloride paint stripping, including cost benefits.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health/Occupational Health Surveillance Program

 

Face Facts Safety Alert 2012 Resources for understanding bathtub refinishing using methylene chloride.