Methylene chloride-related deaths prompt warning

February 29, 2012

Atlanta – Bathtub refinishers may be at risk for exposure to methylene chloride from paint-stripping products, according to an article published in the Feb. 24 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Based on OSHA investigations, the report identified 13 methylene chloride-related deaths among bathroom refinishers from 2000 to 2011. That marked an increase from 1976 to 1999, when only two such deaths occurred.

Each of the 13 fatalities occurred in a residential bathroom with inadequate ventilation, the report found. Workers also lacked adequate protective equipment, such as respirators.

The report recommended that worker safety and public health agencies, as well as manufacturers and trade groups, communicate the hazards to employers, workers and consumers. Employers are advised to comply with OSHA’s Methylene Chloride Standard (1910.1052) and to consider alternative methods of bathroom stripping.