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A Great Stripper: Methylene Chloride Safety

Little did I really understand about Methylene Chloride as a chemical stripper. When my Chemical Safetyfamily was young and on a tight budget, my wife and I would buy used furniture, mostly we bought dressers. They were good quality wood and a little TLC and refinishing is all it took. Of course, 40 years ago there weren’t many alternatives for paint stripping so you bought the most effective. More often than not it contained “Methylene Chloride”. It was kind of neat to watch it bubble up and was gross looking. Not realizing of course that if it was doing this to the paint and old varnish, what was it doing to my lungs? Of course I was a trouper and stood right in there until I had to open a window, and went and got a pair of gloves so I could scrape it off and sand. By the way the directions said it was combustible along with some other warnings I didn’t pay much attention to like; may cause: Dizziness. Drowsiness. Headache. Nausea. Weakness. Unconciousness. Death.

Methylene Chloride is still used today in that application. It’s also referred to as “Dichloromethane” OSHA actually has a publication regarding its use.(OSHA 3144-06R 2003). The OSHA Methylene Chloride standard (Title 29 code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1910.1052, 1915.1052, and 1926.1152) covers all occupational exposures to Methylene Chloride in all workplaces in general industry, shipyard employment, and construction. You can also review this chemical and its dangers by visiting http://www.inchem.org/documents/icsc/icsc/eics0058.htm . This product is also used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, paintremover manufacturing, metal cleaning and degreasing, adhesives manufacturing and use, polyurethane foam production, to name a few. When dealing with this chemical, employers will need to consider; Exposure monitoring, Medical surveillance, Control Measures, Respiratory protection, Hygiene Facilities and protective clothing and equipment, record keeping and training.

Today there are alternatives to this product especially in the DIY “do It yourself” Industry for removing paint, and industrial coatings. These new products are not just safer for the user but environmentally safer as well. At safetyinstruction.com we offer up to date information for training and the safe use of chemicals, including chemical hygiene, and disposal. By the way the kids are all moved out now and we’ve got some dressers if you need one. Methylene Chloride Safety, its worth sharing.

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