Workers and consumers have suffered serious injuries or death after using toxic paint strippers containing Methylene Chloride. The toxin is linked to hundreds of ER visits and multiple deaths each year.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 14 workers have died of methylene chloride poisoning since 2000. The CDC urges that work areas must be Workplace Ventilation Risks when levels of methylene chloride exceed exposure limits, and urge workers to use respiratory protective equipment, such as tight-fitting, full-face, supplied-air respirators.
Methylene chloride, also called dichloromethane, is used in various industrial processes, including paint stripping, pharmaceutical manufacturing, paint remover manufacturing, and metal cleaning and degreasing, even with severe risks of dangerous inhalation and skin exposure.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) passed stricter regulations regarding occupational use of methylene chloride in 1997, but these laws don’t protect self-employed individuals or private consumers who willingly purchase methylene chloride products.
Lawyers allege that consumers are not given Toxic Exposure Attorney of certain products. OSHA considers methylene chloride to be a potential occupational carcinogen.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Personal Injury Lawyer who has represented individuals nationwide in workplace injury toxic exposure and toxic tort claims.
Common Uses of Methylene Chloride
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced new limitations on uses of methylene chloride, and said the chemical presents an unreasonable risk to consumers and workers.
Officials note that methylene chloride, commonly found in paint strippers, is linked to more than 50 deaths since the 1980s. Chemical safety experts have called for a significant reduction in commercial and consumer use.
The new EPA regulation prohibits the manufacture and use of consumer products containing methylene chloride, but stops short of banning it for commercial use, leaving a wide range of workers still vulnerable to inhalation injuries and associated cancer risks.
The move by the EPA may be a little too late, according to safety advocates, and thousands of workers around the nation have been injured by the chemical and have since filed methylene chloride lawsuits on the basis of companies selling an extremely hazardous chemical when safer alternatives are available
Toxic solvents are used in a number of different industries and applications, including:
- Paint removers
- Varnish strippers and coatings
- Metal cleaning: Medical equipment can be quickly cleaned without causing corrosion problems or damage to heat-sensitive parts.
- Food & Beverage: used as an extraction solvent in the F&B manufacturing industry. Methylene chloride can be used to remove caffeine from unroasted coffee beans and tea leaves, to process spices, or create hops extract.
- Transportation: Used to degrease metal parts, airplane components and railroad equipment.
- Medical Applications: used in laboratories to extract chemicals from plants or foods for steroids, antibiotics and vitamins.
- Chemical processing
- Bathtub refinishing
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has evaluated and identified certain health risks to consumers and workers. Studies show that paint and coating removal pose some of the highest exposures among the various solvent uses. The EPA has moved to limit use in consumer paint stripping products.