- Safety and Health Topics
- Methylene Chloride
Methylene chloride, also called dichloromethane, is a volatile, colorless liquid with a chloroform-like odor. Methylene chloride is used in various industrial processes, in many different industries including paint stripping, pharmaceutical manufacturing, paint remover manufacturing, and metal cleaning and degreasing. The most common means of exposure to methylene chloride is inhalation and skin exposure. OSHA considers methylene chloride to be a potential occupational carcinogen.
Exposures to methylene chloride are addressed in specific OSHA standards for General Industry, Shipyard Employment, and Construction.
Provides references that may aid in recognizing methylene chloride hazards in the workplace.
Provides references that may aid in evaluating methylene chloride exposures in the workplace.
Provides resources that contain information to help control exposures.
Provides links and references to additional resources related to exposures to methylene chloride.
- Lethal Exposure to Methylene Chloride during Bathtub Refinishing. OSHA Fatal Fact No. 13, (2016). Describes how one worker died while refinishing a bathtub in a residential bathroom using paint stripping product that contained methylene chloride.
- Toxic Paint Removers: Safer Alternatives. California Department of Public Health Video, (2016). Discusses the hazards of methylene chloride paint stripping products and safer alternatives.
- Preventing Worker Deaths from Paint Strippers Containing Methylene Chloride. California Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Branch (January 2014). Provides a number of useful resources to help workers and employers select safer paint stripping products and employ proper personal protection, respirators and safe work practices. The site also has education and training materials.
- Methylene Chloride Hazards for Bathtub Refinisher (PDF). OSHA Hazard Alert, (January 2013).
- Review of OSHA's Methylene Chloride standard shows value to worker protection. OSHA Trade News Release, (May 13, 2010).
- Notice of Availability of the Regulatory Flexibility Act Review of the Methylene Chloride Standard. OSHA Federal Register Proposed Rules, (May 5, 2010).
Workers have the right to:
- Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
- Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
- Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.
For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.
How to Contact OSHA
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.