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, maritime, and construction.
Provides references that may aid in evaluating methylene chloride exposures in the workplace.
- 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).