Methylene Chloride Continues to be a Fatal Hazard in the Workplace
Exposure to paint strippers containing methylene chloride remains a severe health concern for workers. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently refused to extend the United States Environmental Protection [EPA] agency's regulations to cover methylene chloride in the commercial setting.
Occupational Exposure Symptoms
Exposure to methylene chloride, a chemical used in paint products, can result in:
- •Neurological impact such as a coma, incapacitation, loss of consciousness and dizziness, and
- •Liver effects
Chronic exposure to methylene chloride can result in:
- •Brain cancer,
- •Liver cancer,
- •Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and
- •Multiple myeloma.
Methylene chloride is commonly used by persons engaged in bathtub refurbishing. It is also known as dichloromethane (DCM). Over 49 deaths were caused by methylene chloride, according to documents published by the EPA. The EPA reported that even requiring respirators still produces the acute risks of incapacitation or death and workers exposed to 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 industries, including paint stripping, pharmaceutical manufacturing, paint remover manufacturing, and metal cleaning and degreasing. The most common means of exposure to methylene chloride are inhalation and skin exposure. OSHA considers methylene chloride to be a potential occupational carcinogen."
2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
While methylene chloride has been banned for sale in the retail market, the Court ruled that commercial workplaces are still permitted to use this hazardous chemical. The court reasoned that the E PA is still contemplating a rule that will drastically reduce or eliminate methylene chloride used in a commercial setting.
Workers' Compensation Benefits
Workers' compensation benefits are available for those eligible workers who have been injured due to exposure to methylene chloride in an occupational setting. If you have been exposed, you should consult a lawyer familiar with workers' compensation benefits as soon as possible.
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Docket Nos. 19-1042(L); 19-1033l 19-2329, 2021 WL 3889957, ___F.4th___ (2 C.A. 2021), Decided September 1, 2021.
Recommended Citation: Jon L. Gelman, Methylene Chloride Continues to be a Hazard in the Workplace, Workers' Compensation Blog (Sept. 7, 2021), https://workers-compensation.blogspot.com/2021/09/methylene-chloride-continues-to-be.html.
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 email@example.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Blog: Workers ' Compensation
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Workers exposed to common paint strippers suffer fatal reactionsLitigation is advancing against the distributors and resellers of paint strippers containing methylene chloride and NMP. The lawsuits were filed for damages resulting from the alleged exposure, illness and death of users of the products.
OSHA fines New Jersey company $130,000 for methylene chloride violationsThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a New Jersey company $130,000 for methylene chloride violations. Exposure to paint strippers containing methylene chloride remains a severe health concern for workers. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently refused to extend the United States Environmental Protection [EPA] agency's regulations to cover methylene chloride in the commercial setting.
Furniture plant workers repeatedly exposed to safety and health hazards in Northern New JerseyThe company was also cited for not training employees about the effects of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace, including methylene chloride, combustible dust and formaldehyde.
NIOSH: Methylene ChlorideMethylene chloride (CH2Cl2) is a colorless liquid that can harm the eyes, skin, liver, and heart. Exposure can cause drowsiness, dizziness, numbness and tingling limbs, and nausea. It may cause cancer. Severe exposure can cause loss of consciousness and death. Workers may be harmed from exposure to methylene chloride. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.
Get the Facts: Methylene chlorideMethylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane or DCM, is a solvent used in a range of products. The average consumer is most likely to encounter it in paint strippers, even though safer alternatives exist. Methylene chloride has been linked to cancer, cognitive impairment, and asphyxiation.
TSCA-US EPA- Fact Sheet: Methylene Chloride or Dichloromethane (DCM)There are health risks to workers and consumers who use methylene chloride-containing products, and to bystanders in workplaces and residences where methylene chloride is used. Effects of short-term (acute) exposures to workers and consumers, including bystanders, can result in harm to the central nervous system, or neurotoxicity. Effects of longer periods of exposure (chronic) for workers includes liver toxicity, liver cancer, and lung cancer.