Workplace exposures

EPA: Paint-stripping chemical is hazardous to workers

Washington – The Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 28 announced it has identified health risks stemming from the use of dichloromethane, a chemical in paint-stripping products.

EPA said DCM poses health risks to workers and consumers who use products that contain the chemical, as well as people at worksites and homes in which DCM is used. More than 230,000 U.S. workers are exposed to DCM, according to EPA.

The agency recommends using products that contain DCM outside or in a well-ventilated area while wearing protective equipment. Additionally, check a product’s label to see if it contains DCM or methylene chloride.

EPA is considering regulatory and voluntary actions for DCM, and is expected to host a workshop in late autumn on possible substitutes and risk-reduction strategies.

The assessment was one of three released Aug. 28 on chemicals found in common household products. The agency found no health concerns related to antimony trioxide (found in certain flame retardants) and HHCB (a fragrance ingredient used in commercial and consumer products).

The three assessments resulted from the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act Work Plan. In a final risk assessment released June 25, EPA reported health risks posed by TCE, a degreaser, spot-cleaner and spray-on protective coating.