- 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).
How do I find out about employer responsibilities and workers' rights?
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or Workers' rights under the OSH Act.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential On-Site Consultation program to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. Consultants in this program from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-Site Consultation web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.