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Occupational Health Branch

Preventing Worker Deaths from Paint Strippers Containing Methylene Chloride

Methylene chloride (dichloromethane) is a widely used solvent that can cause serious illness or death when used in enclosed spaces. It is a cancer-causing chemical used in paint strippers, in the production of polymer foams, and as a degreaser.

The Occupational Health Branch investigated two incidents in California in which workers died after using paint strippers containing methylene chloride.​

OHB recommends the following to keep workers safe:

  • Become familiar with the risks of methylene chloride in paint strippers
  • Use less toxic alternatives; and
  • Use effective personal protective equipment and an exhaust ventilation system (not just a fan).

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