| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free Marine Industry Coating Systems eResource Book

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

OSHA Reaffirms Methylene Chloride Limit

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Comment | More

A 1997 federal regulation limiting worker exposure to the toxic solvent methylene chloride has saved lives and prevented serious illness, OHSA says, and it will remain in place as currently written, a review by the agency has determined.

Methylene chloride (also known as MC, dichloromethane, or DCM) is a common industrial solvent used in paint stripping, metal cleaning, manufacturing of plastics and adhesives, and other applications. Without proper ventilation or respiratory protection, short-term exposure to large amounts of MC can cause respiratory or central nervous system failure.

In 1985, the U.S. EPA determined that MC was a probable human carcinogen and posed a long-term danger to human health. In 1997, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reduced the permissible exposure limit of MC from an eight-hour-time-weighted-average (TWA) of 500 parts per million to 25 parts per million.

As required, OSHA has been conducting an extensive review of the standard, to determine how well it was fulfilling its purpose of safeguarding workers.

“The review clearly showed that the standard has been effective in saving lives,” OSHA recently reported. “The study estimates that each year the standard protects as many as 30,000 to 54,000 workers from damage to their respiratory and nervous systems and prevents approximately 34 deaths from cancer and other illnesses caused by methylene chloride exposure. This standard’s success reflects the overall importance of OSHA standards in protecting workers' safety and health.”

The notice was published May 5 in the Federal Register (Federal Register Number 75:24509-24510, Standard Number 1910.1052).

“OSHA concludes that the MC Standard has protected workers from adverse health effects resulting from exposure to MC in the workplace,” OSHA said. “In terms of economic impacts, the MC Standard does not impose an unnecessary or disproportionate burden on small businesses or on industry in general. Although the Standard does impose costs, these costs are essential to protecting worker health. This lookback review did not identify any industries in which the MC Standard diminished the industries' viability.”

Although the standard will not change, OSHA has found that lack of information and training are the most common barriers to compliance. The agency thus “recommends reviewing its compliance-assistance materials to determine the need for updates. OSHA also recommends reviewing the adequacy of how these materials are disseminated and additional means for reaching affected populations.”

Substitutes for MC have been developed and their use is growing, but OSHA notes that even these “may pose their own health hazards.”

“Therefore, based on public comments, OSHA will consider putting out guidance recommending that, before a substitute for MC is used, the toxicity of that substitute should be checked on the EPA and NIOSH Web sites ( and, respectively).”


Tagged categories: Health and safety; OSHA; OSHA

Comment from Ron Towers, (6/1/2010, 3:46 PM)

What about us poor painters that used that paint stripper years ago before the regulations?

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings

Join SSPC and Enhance
Your Career !

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste money on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint

Sidewinder/Persyst Enterprises, Inc.
The Sidewinder Model M2 Solvent Recycler

Combat the rising cost of gunwash, thinners, acetone & more while drastically reducing waste disposal coat.

Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.

US Minerals
US Minerals -
Black Magnum

With nationwide production and distribution capabilities, U.S. Minerals supplies a complete range of coal slag and other abrasives to meet all of your blasting needs.

RPB Respiratory

With RPB Safety’s new Nova 3 Cassette Lens System which has been specifically designed to save you time and money! See the benefits for yourself now!

CS Unitec
Work Cleaner and Safer

CS Unitec’s Vibro-Lo low-vibration scalers offer high performance for greater productivity & improved operator comfort. Optional dust shroud.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead

PPG Protective and Marine Coatings Group
Industrial strength performance in ONE can.

Now get the durability and protection of two components in one can: Amercoat® ONE, PSX® ONE and Sigmadur ONE.

Corrosion Probe, Inc.
From Detection to Correction

Corrosion Probe, Inc. has the Most Concrete Coatings Experience and Expertise. Contact us today at

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail